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Saturday, October 25, 2014

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Florida man convicted of killing Culpeper native to serve 15 years in prison

SPOTSYLVANIA – Marcellus Anthony “Bull” Greene Sr. would frequently call his family members just to check on them. His mother Shirley Greene of Culpeper said when she picked up the phone, Bull always wanted to know how she was doing and what she was cooking. His sister Barbara Brooks of Maryland said Bull would often call her at work just to see if everything was OK. His father Albert described Bull as a man with a big heart who loved to joke around and his brother Stephen Greene said Bull loved being the “big boss” when they played sports. But the gentle giant’s voice was silenced when a bullet struck him in the head during a drive-by shooting as he worked security at Q Balls Cafe and Billiards near Spotsylvania Towne Center on March 30, 2013. The gunman Chauncey Cartier Lampkin, 29, of Gainesville, Florida was sentenced in Spotsylvania County Circuit Court on Friday to 15 years in prison for second-degree murder and shooting from a vehicle. After nearly four hours of testimony Friday, Judge David Beck ordered Lampkin to serve 30 years with 17 years suspended for the second-degree murder charge; and seven years with five years suspended for shooting from a vehicle. Lampkin must remain on good behavior for 30 years and indefinite probation to avoid serving the entire 37-year sentence in the penitentiary. The getaway driver Lavon Chew, who was sentenced in April, is serving four years in jail for his role in the deadly drive-by shooting. But during Friday’s hearing, Lampkin testified that Chew pulled the trigger twice before handing him the gun and Lampkin said he shot it once in the air before it jammed that fateful night. During an August 2013 court hearing, Q-Ball security guard Derrick Hull testified that a fight that started inside the nightclub involving Lampkin and a group of guys spilled into the parking lot before shots were fired. Hull identified Lampkin as being one of the club’s patrons that night and the person who shot Greene. Hull said he saw Lampkin flee the parking lot a group of men started punching and kicking him. It was revealed in court Friday that Bull was one of the people that came to Lampkin’s aid that night. Moments later, Hull said he saw Lampkin return riding in the passenger side of a car, displaying a gun and shooting bullets in the air before aiming it at a crowd and striking an unsuspecting Greene in the back of his head, killing him instantly. After a nationwide search, Lampkin was apprehended in Mount Vernon, N.Y. in April 2013 after a disturbance outside a bar. Lampkin reportedly gave law enforcement his cousin’s name before fingerprints correctly identified him. Asked how Bull’s death has impacted their lives, his family members repeatedly said they are enduring great emotional and physical pain but many forgive Lampkin and put the situation in the Lord’s hands. “I miss him so much. I talked to him every day. This took a toll on me but I do forgive this young man. It doesn’t bring my son back but God has him in his arms,” said Mrs. Greene.  Mr. Greene said he missed talking to his eldest son. “We had a good relationship,” said the longtime deacon. “A lot of these young people are walking in darkness with demons. Parents need to stand up and we need more strong parents to raise these children.” Stephen said his brother’s spirit has visited him twice. “He told me ‘don’t worry about it. He’s going to be alright,’” said Stephen, adding that even Bull would want the family to forgive. Bull’s sister Barbara Brooks said her brother’s death has made her physically ill, causing seizures. “My brother meant the world to me,” she testified. “Today is hard because I have to look at the man that took my brother away. [His family] can go and see him but we have to go to the grave to talk to my brother. We only have pictures to look at now. I just want to dig him up and tell him to come back but I can’t because he’s in God’s hands.” Bull, 45, was a hard worker with a full-time and two part-time jobs, saving money for his son’s college expenses. But Bull’s untimely death put a difficult strain on his family’s finances.  Lisa Jewell, Bull’s longtime girlfriend of 20 years and mother of their son, Marcellus Anthony Greene Jr., told the court Friday that she had to file bankruptcy after his death. “Financially, he was the provider,” Jewell testified. “What I made was just extra money for our family.”Jewell also told the court that Bull’s murder has taken an awful toll on their son, now 19. “Our son was so happy and carefree, but now he’s so angry and upset. He’s not the same kid that we raised,” she testified. “For him not to have his dad at his graduation or see him off to college is hard for him. He doesn’t want to do anything now because his dad is not here to see him. He’s lost the passion to play football since his dad died.” Jewell asked Judge Beck to sentence Lampkin to the maximum prison term, “because my son needs closure.” Described as a tall man with a hefty build, the 1986 Culpeper County High School graduate played defensive end and offensive tackle for the Prince William Monarchs, a semi-professional football team and was named one of the MVPs in the North America Bowl's United States Football Association's national championship. After playing football across the nation, Bull also played football overseas and earned 15 championship rings, inspiring many young people in Culpeper. Nearly 800 people filled Culpeper Baptist Church to say goodbye to Bull during his funeral. Before sentencing, Lampkin also took the stand to explain his upbringing and how his life took a dramatic turn following his cousin’s unexpected death. Lampkin, who was a basketball standout as a teen at P.K. Yonge in Gainesville, Florida in 2003, said he was on his way to play college ball but his substandard SAT scores prevented his goals. “I felt like I disappointed myself, my family and my coaches,” testified Lampkin, who said he went on to earn an associate’s degree. But when Lampkin’s cousin died in October 2012 at 19, that’s when he said he turned to alcohol and marijuana to alleviate the pain. “I started drinking more and smoking and hanging around the wrong crowd,” said Lampkin before turning his attention to the Greene family. “It really broke my heart that their family is going through this tragic situation. I pray for you every day and night for this careless act.” Since being arrested in April 2013, Lampkin says he’s spent nearly 18 months in “the hole,” otherwise known as solitary confinement isolated from other prisoners because of the high-profile interest in this case. Lampkins’ parents Claudia and Kenneth Banton of Gainesville pleaded with the judge for mercy and repeatedly shared their sorrow for the Greene family.     “Of my five children, Chauncey was the best. He’s a well-rounded kid and he never gave us any trouble,” Mr. Banton told the court. “I hurt for the Greene family every day. I can’t believe we are here. I believe in consequences, but what are the consequences for this? It’s not 30 or 40 years in jail. Let’s help him move on.” Mrs. Banton said she wanted to “taze and handcuff” her son to take him back to his home in Florida.“Why is he here [in Virginia]? Chauncey has no business in this situation,” she said. “I hope you are willing to forgive Chauncey. We are devastated over the loss of your son.” Banton family friend Marie Robinson said she works with at-risk youth, and if given the chance, she would personally help Lampkin get back on the right track. “He’s the most respectable young man I’ve ever met,” she said. “Chauncey can use this opportunity to help someone else not sit in that seat. I will guide him because he has got work to do. I ask for your mercy for him.” During closing arguments, Spotsylvania County Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Ryan Mehaffey called Lampkin a “gang-banging killer,” after fellow prosecutor Martha Norton introduced several photos of the defendant donning what they describe as gang-related tattoos and throwing up gang signs.” “He put a bullet in the head of a beautiful, loving father,” Mehaffey said. “Bull is never coming back. Gang violence is real and it’s here. Let’s stop it now. This court’s mission is to protect our families.” Lampkin’s defense attorney Jack Randall described the drive-by shooting as chaotic and tragic for two families. “This is not premeditated. It was a stupid, immature act,” he said. “Four out of five Greene family members forgive him. Mr. Lampkin can be rehabilitated.” Before his ruling, Beck shared his own thoughts about this tragic and complicated case. “Nothing we do today will bring back Marcellus Greene, Sr.,” said Judge Beck. “And we know from the testimony that he was a positive influence in his community.” Beck also posed a few questions, to which weren’t answered during Friday's lengthy hearing. “Why was Lampkin in Virginia? What was he doing at Q Balls that night? How did he end up with Lavon Chew and what was the relationship between Lampkin and Chew?” After Friday’s sentencing, Randall called the verdict a fair one.“It gives Chauncey Lampkin a second chance and hopefully he’ll make good strides with that second chance,” Randall concluded, standing outside the courtroom Friday. Asked her thoughts about the verdict, Shirley Greene said she’s hurt, but doesn’t hold any animosity toward anyone. “I’ll forgive, but never forget,” she said.

2:36 pm | See more

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Friday 10/24/2014
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Posted: October 24, 2014

Concert is Saturday night at the State Theatre

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Posted: October 24, 2014

Victor Cambrano-Lopez, 46, lived on Washington Street

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Posted: October 24, 2014

The Piedmont Regional Dental Clinic will provide free dental care to low income, uninsured Virginia veterans on Veterans Day, Nov. 11. 

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