Man sentenced to over 50 years behind bars for two deadly shootings, including the killing of a mother and baby

Published: Mar. 14, 2022 at 6:21 AM EDT|Updated: Mar. 14, 2022 at 7:43 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - A Richmond man who pleaded guilty to seven charges in December for his role in two deadly shootings from last April was sentenced by a judge inside Richmond Circuit Court on Monday morning.

Kevon Bynum will spend 52 years behind bars after he pled guilty to two charges of first-degree murder and three charges of malicious wounding in connection to the shooting at the Belt Atlantic Apartments, where 30-year-old Sharnez Hill and her 3-month-old baby, Neziah, were killed. Three others, a 29-year-old, a 15-year-old, and an 11-year-old, were caught in the crossfire at the Belt Atlantic apartments - but survived.

A Richmond man was sentenced to 52 years behind bars for his role in two deadly shootings that...
A Richmond man was sentenced to 52 years behind bars for his role in two deadly shootings that happened last April.(Source;Family photos | Family Photos)

Kevon also pled guilty to first-degree murder and use of a firearm in commission of a felony in connection to the death of 18-year-old Vinshaun Johnson, who was found dead with a gunshot wound on Montvale Avenue three weeks before the deadly shooting at the Belt Atlantic Apartments in Richmond’s southside.

A judge sentenced Bynum to a total of 183 years behind bars. However, the judge suspended 131 years, which means Kevon will spend 52 behind bars.

Here’s the breakdown of Bynum’s sentence:

  • First-Degree Murder (40 years - 25 years suspended)
  • First-Degree Murder: 40 years (24 years suspended)
  • First-Degree Murder: 40 years ( 25 years suspended)
  • Malicious Wounding: 20 years (19 years suspended)
  • Malicious Wounding: 20 years (19 years suspended)
  • Malicious Wounding: 20 years (19 years suspended)
  • Use of a firearm in commission of a felony: 3 years

The courtroom grew emotional as Vinshaun Johnson’s family members took the stand and shared the loss and pain they’ve experienced since he lost his life last April.

“Justice has been served for Vinshaun,” said Barbara Johnson, Vinshaun Johns’s mother, after the sentencing hearing. “He was always there for me through thick and thin, but I know he’s here with me.”

While Barbara Johnson believes justice has been served for her son, Inez Christian-Clarke, Sharnez Hill’s grandmother, believes otherwise for her granddaughter and great-granddaughter.

We’re still without a grandchild and a great-grandchild, you know. We’re still going through our own prison,” she said over the phone. “Whatever he got, it still wouldn’t have changed our side of the situation. We’re still mourning the loss of two family members at one time.”

Inside the courtroom, Kevon Bynum’s mentor and mother took the stand and told the court Kevon is “very loving” and always willing to help. His mother said he was raised in the church and was also an athlete.

Kevon Bynum’s attorney, James Johnson, also discussed his character and clean record before the two deadly shootings.

After the hearing, Johnson said Kevon is “a man with a lot of character” and added that “what happened in these two incidents is contrary to who he actually is.” He also told reporters outside the courtroom that Kevon doesn’t deny involvement and takes responsibility.

Before the sentencing was read, Kevon also read a letter to the courtroom saying, “I want the world to know I’m not a bad person.”

“I don’t think he took responsibility of the situation he had done, but forgiveness is for me,” said Barbara Johnson in reaction to Kevon’s letter. ”God has the final say so in this, so all I can say is have mercy on him. That’s all I say.”

“That’s my prayer for him that he will come to himself and realize what he really did,” said Christian-Clarke.

The judge took less than an hour to come to her decision about sentencing.

Prosecutors were looking for a life sentence, but the defense wanted it to be 15 years.

The judge said given Bynum’s clean record, the sentence guidelines for this case would range between 31 to 52 years. In the end, the judge handed down 52 years behind bars.

A moment these families say will never bring back the ones they love.

“I know he here’s with me. I always keep him in my heart. There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t think of my son,” said Barbara Johnson.

Kevon’s brother, Kavon, is also facing charges in relation to the deadly shooting at the Belt Atlantic Apartments. His trial is scheduled for Dec. 14 at 9 a.m.

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