Murder charges certified for Toano shooting suspects

Jimmy LaRoue
Contact Reporterjlarouejr@vagazette.com

Murder charges against two men in connection to the shooting death of a man outside a Toano apartment complex will head to the grand jury following a preliminary hearing Thursday in Williamsburg-James City County General District Court.

Marques Raquan Stephens-Graves and Malcom Shemar Lee, both of James City County, are charged with second degree murder in the Oct. 23 death of Adren Raheem Garnett, 20, who was shot in the chest in the parking lot of the Burnt Ordinary Apartments, according to James City County Deputy Police Chief Steve Rubino.

A charge of gang participation against both men was dropped, while another charge of malicious wounding against each — another man, Shakeem Brown, was shot in the leg during the shooting, Rubino said — was reduced to felonious assault during the preliminary hearing.

In addition to the second degree murder and felonious assault charges, both Stephens-Graves and Lee face a charge of using a firearm in the commission of a felony and a charge of nonviolent felon possession of a gun within 10 years. A grand jury will hear those charges March 21 in Williamsburg-James City County Circuit Court.

James City County Police crime scene investigator William Booth testified he found 13 shell cases at the scene — one each from a 9mm and 40mm handgun, and 11 from a .45-caliber gun.

Another James City County Police investigator, Pat Murray, testified he first spoke with Lee a week after the shooting at a Dollar Tree in Gloucester County. At the time, Lee was with his girlfriend in her car, Murray said.

Murray said Lee initially told him he wasn’t involved in the shooting.

“He said he wasn’t there,” Murray said. “He said he was in Gloucester with his girlfriend.”

Murray said he received consent to search the car but did not find a weapon, and later received consent from Curtis Jackson, the owner of the house in which Lee’s girlfriend lived, to search the home.

When Murray went out on the back deck of the home, he said he found a white T-shirt with a 45-caliber pistol.

Murray also testified he spoke with Jordan Allen Davis the day after he talked with Lee in Gloucester; Davis was also arrested in connection to the shooting.

As Murray testified about that conversation, attorneys for Lee and Stephens-Graves objected to the testimony on hearsay grounds. After Judge Colleen K. Killilea read the transcript of the conversation, she ruled that it would be admissible as evidence rather than having Murray testify about the conversation.

According to Murray, Davis said he had wanted to settle a beef with Brown and armed Lee with a 45-caliber firearm before heading over to the Burnt Ordinary Apartments.

Murray said there was a verbal altercation before shots were fired.

Murray said he spoke with Lee on Nov. 6 after his arrest.

“He confirmed the (weapon) we found in Gloucester at his girlfriend’s house was the same one” he used to fire at Brown and Garnett, Murray said.

Murray testified that Lee confirmed firing his weapon at Brown and Garnett. Under cross examination, Murray also said Brown and Garnett had guns.

Murray also said the forensic report showed that the firearm he recovered at Lee’s girlfriend’s home was the same one that killed Garnett.

LaRoue can be reached by phone at 757-345-2342, by email at jlarouejr@vagazette.com or on Twitter @jlaroue.

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