It was a robbery that turned into a gunfight. Now, the main players are behind bars

Maurice King Walters Jr. (Southside Daily photo/Courtesy of Virginia Beach Sheriff's Office)
Maurice King Walters Jr. (Southside Daily photo/Courtesy of Virginia Beach Sheriff’s Office)

VIRGINIA BEACH — A 21-year-old man was sentenced Wednesday for his part in a 2016 robbery here that turned deadly.

Maurice King Walters Jr., of Virginia Beach was given 36 years in prison.

Circuit Court Judge Stephen C. Mahan suspended 22 years, leaving 14 years to serve, according to the Virginia Beach Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office.

Walters pleaded guilty to aggravated malicious wounding, attempted robbery, conspiracy and possession schedule I/II drugs.

The charges stemmed from an incident July 20, 2016 – prosecutors said Walters’ co-defendant, Marquel Leary, went to the apartment of Frederico Roundtree on Overlook Court in Virginia Beach. Neighbors saw Leary and Roundtree fighting and screaming at each other in the apartment stairwell.

According to the commonwealth’s attorney’s office, “Leary began to devise a plan to get back at Roundtree, and he sought out Walters, Anton Joshua, and some other men to help him.”

Leary picked up Walters, Joshua, Sean Patterson, Casheon Jones, and a juvenile. Later that evening. They brought masks, guns, and latex gloves “to help with the revenge plot.”

The group planned to rob Roundtree of money and a gun at his apartment – they 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.

Leary and Patterson, on the way to the apartment, communicated with Roudtree’s friend, Taiwan Michael Simon, who told them to scrap the robbery plan or be prepared for Simon to use his gun to stop them.

But the group pressed on. They arrived, put on their masks and armed themselves. They left their cellphones in the car.

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.

Police said a gunfight ensued – 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- he died at the scene.  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, the commonwealth’s attorney’s office said.

The suspects hid the weapons used in the crime, but police recovered two guns and Joshua’s clown mask that night. During an interview with police, Jones cooperated and led police to one firearm.

The jury also heard several phone calls made by Joshua while in the jail awaiting trial.  He made several incriminating statements in those calls, including getting his co-defendants to come in and lie for him at the trial, according to the commonwealth’s attorney’s office.

The co-defendants:

  • Marquel Leary– pleaded guilty to first-degree murder, aggravated malicious wounding, attempted robbery, three counts of use of a firearm, and conspiracy. He was sentenced to 76 years in prison with 35 years suspended, leaving 41 years to serve.
  • Anton Joshua – found guilty by a jury on charges of aggravated malicious wounding, attempted robbery, use of a firearm, and conspiracy. He was sentenced to 29 years.
  • Casheon Jones– pleaded guilty to malicious wounding, conspiracy, and accessory after the fact – homicide. He was sentenced to 26 years, with 20 suspended, leaving 6 years to serve.
  • Sean Patterson– pleaded guilty to conspiracy. He was sentenced to five years, with four years and 11 months suspended, leaving 1 month to serve.
  • 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.

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John Mangalonzo (john@localvoicemedia.com) is the managing editor of Local Voice Media’s Virginia papers – WYDaily (Williamsburg), Southside Daily (Virginia Beach) and HNNDaily (Hampton-Newport News). Before coming to Local Voice, John was the senior content editor of The Bellingham Herald, a McClatchy newspaper in Washington state. Previously, he served as city editor/content strategist for USA Today Network newsrooms in St. George and Cedar City, Utah. John started his professional journalism career shortly after graduating from Lyceum of The Philippines University in 1990. As a rookie reporter for a national newspaper in Manila that year, John was assigned to cover four of the most dangerous cities in Metro Manila. Later that year, John was transferred to cover the Philippine National Police and Armed Forces of the Philippines. He spent the latter part of 1990 to early 1992 embedded with troopers in the southern Philippines as they fought with communist rebels and Muslim extremists. His U.S. journalism career includes reporting and editing stints for newspapers and other media outlets in New York City, California, Texas, Iowa, Utah, Colorado and Washington state.