Jury recommends 2 life terms plus 28 years for man convicted in double murder

Leonard Allen Morrison was found guilty of two counts of first-degree murder and sentenced to two life sentences plus 28 years (Southside Daily file photo) Courtesy of the Virginia Beach Sheriff's Office)
Leonard Allen Morrison was found guilty of two counts of first-degree murder and sentenced to two life sentences plus 28 years (Southside Daily file photo) Courtesy of the Virginia Beach Sheriff’s Office)

VIRGINIA BEACH — A man is facing two life terms plus 28 years in prison for his role in the murder and robbery of two other men in Virginia Beach in June 2017.

Leonard Allen Morrison was found guilty Wednesday of two counts of first degree murder, two counts of robbery and four counts of the use of a firearm following a three-day trial.

Morrison will be sentenced on Aug.6, by Circuit Court Judge H. Thomas Padrick Jr., who presided over the trial.

On the evening of June 10, 2017, Morrison and James Cole Gregory planned a robbery of John Andrew Rathjen and Rayvone Sharome Miles who both lived on Archives Court in Virginia Beach, according to evidence presented at trial.

One of the victims was known to Gregory, according to evidence from the trial. At around 10 p.m., Morrison and Gregory entered the victims’ home, shot them each twice, and robbed them of wallets, phones, and electronics. Neighbors heard gunshots and looked outside to see two men getting into a car and fleeing.

Gregory was linked to the crime through text messages exchanged with one of the victims. This victim’s phone was found on the side of the road by a resident who was doing highway clean-up the day after the murder.

Related story: Murder, robbery charges filed against two men accused of Sunday homicides

A few days later, Morrison and Gregory were apprehended by police following a separate crime in Hampton.  Both men made statements to detectives implicating themselves in the Virginia Beach double murder, although they minimized their involvement in the crimes, according to Colin D. Stolle, Commonwealth’s attorney for Virginia Beach.

Gregory is facing the same charges at Morrison, and his trial is set for May 8, 2018.

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