They met for a drug deal in 2017. One ended up dead, the other was just sentenced to prison for the shooting

Richard Jerome Gregory Jr. (Southside Daily photo/Courtesy of Virginia Beach Sheriff's Office)
Richard Jerome Gregory Jr. (Southside Daily/Courtesy of Virginia Beach Sheriff’s Office)

VIRGINIA BEACH — A 26-year-old local man is headed to prison for the shooting death of a woman back in 2017.

Richard Jerome Gregory Jr. was sentenced Tuesday to 21 years in prison. He was found guilty by a jury last July of second-degree murder and use of a firearm. The verdict came after a five-day trial.

It all started with what prosecutors say was a drug transaction on May 8, 2017. The victim, Erica Alford, and Gregory planned to meet for that deal.

Alford, driving her Honda Civic, picked up a friend on the way to meet Gregory. The friend sat in the backseat, according to the Virginia Beach Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office.

At Gregory’s direction, the group drove to the Mayfair Apartments in the 5800 block Newtown Arch. Gregory left the car with a “lunch bag” in his hand, then returned a few minutes later, sat back into the passenger seat, and asked, “Where is it?”

Alford, still seated in the driver’s seat, replied, “I don’t have it on me,”  according to the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office.

Gregory then pulled out a gun and started firing at Alford.

Alford fired back, striking Gregory in the hand and leg.  She died at the scene.

Alford’s friend, jumped out of the backseat and ran to a nearby 7-Eleven and called 911.

Gregory fled and “limped to various apartments leaving a trail of blood.”

Prosecutors said the incident was caught on Mayfair’s surveillance camera – Gregory was seen limping away from the scene carrying a lunch bag and “a black object” in his hand.

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John Mangalonzo ( 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.