Anton Nelson Joshua, 21, formerly of the 1300 block of Credle Road in Virginia Beach's Oceana area, was found guilty today of aggravated malicious wounding, attempted robbery, use of a firearm and conspiracy, after a four-day jury trial.
The jury fixed his punishment at 29 years in prison. He has prior convictions for assault and battery and distribution of marijuana.
Circuit Court Judge Les L. Lilley, who presided over the trial, formally imposed that sentence.
The sentencing announcement was made today by Virginia Beach Commonwealth's Attorney Colin D. Stolle.
The commonwealth's evidence proved that on the afternoon of July 19, 2016, Anton Joshua's co-defendant, Marquel Leary, went to the apartment of Frederico Roundtree on Overlook Court in Virginia Beach.
Neighbors saw Leary and Roundtree physically fighting and screaming at each other in the apartment stairwell.
Leary believed Roundtree had previously stolen a firearm from his friend, Maurice Walters. Leary began to devise a plan to get back at Roundtree, and he sought out Joshua, Walters, and some other men to help him.
Later that evening, Leary picked up Joshua, Walters, Sean Patterson, Casheon Jones, and a juvenile.
Members of this group brought masks, guns and latex gloves to help with the revenge plot. Specifically, Joshua brought a clown mask and a gun.
The group planned to rob Roundtree of his debit card and take back the gun that belonged to Walters. Joshua and the group decided that Patterson, Walters, and the juvenile would go up to Roundtree's apartment and smoke marijuana with him to relax him and scope out the situation. A text message was then sent to Joshua advising him to start the armed robbery.
On the way to Roundtree's apartment, Leary and Patterson communicated with Taiwan Simon, who was in the apartment with Roundtree. Simon told them to abandon the robbery plan or be prepared for Simon to use his gun to stop them. When the group arrived at the apartment, those who were to do the robbery put on gloves and masks and armed themselves. They left their cell phones and wallets in the car so they would not leave evidence behind at the scene. Patterson, Walters, and the juvenile then went to the apartment, as planned. On the way, they passed Simon and two other men. As Joshua and Leary started to approach Roundtree's apartment with guns drawn, Roundtree came out of the apartment with a revolver. Simon also came outside.
Roundtree and Leary exchanged gunfire; Roundtree was struck in the leg and Leary in the stomach. Leary emptied his weapon, firing 11 times, striking Simon in the head and killing him. Leary fell to the ground in the parking lot, and Walters stayed with him because they were locked out of Leary's car. Patterson, Jones and the juvenile fled. When police encountered Joshua he told them he was walking back from Food Lion. Roundtree survived the shooting but has permanent damage to his leg.
Multiple defendants hid weapons that were used in these crimes. Two guns and Joshua's clown mask were recovered by the police department's forensics unit that night. During an interview with police, Jones cooperated and led police to one firearm. The clown mask was recovered by police. The jury also heard several phone calls made by Joshua while in the jail awaiting trial. He made several incriminating statements in these calls to include talking about getting his co-defendants to come in and lie for him at the trial.
The status of the other co-defendants is as follows:
Marquel Leary – pleaded guilty to first degree felony murder, aggravated malicious wounding, attempted robbery, three counts of the use of a firearm and conspiracy; sentenced to 76 years in prison with 35 years suspended, leaving 41 years to serve.
Maurice Walters – pleaded guilty to malicious wounding, attempted robbery and conspiracy; sentencing set for February 27, 2018.
Casheon Jones – pleaded guilty to malicious wounding, conspiracy and accessory after the fact, homicide; sentenced to 26 years, with 20 suspended, leaving six years to serve.
Sean Patterson – pleaded guilty to conspiracy; sentencing set for April 2, 2018.
Juvenile co-defendant – pleaded guilty in Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court to conspiracy; committed to the Department of Juvenile Justice for an indeterminate period of time.
Assistant Commonwealth's Attorneys Scott M. Lang and James S. Panagis, respectively, prosecuted this case.