Fourth Norfolk Man Sentenced for 2019 Armed Dorm Robbery of ODU Students
NORFOLK, Va. – The final defendant involved in an Old Dominion University campus armed robbery, 24-year-old Denzel Mensah, was sentenced Friday for his role in holding up two students in a residence hall in 2019.
21-year-old Damarae A. Martin Jr., 22-year-old Tyrell N. Moses, and 22-year-old Ke’Shawn M. Beasley were also convicted and sentenced for charges including robbery, conspiracy, and use of a firearm for their participation.
One of the victims, who resided in the Powhatan II student apartment building, knew Mr. Mensah because he occasionally sold marijuana to Mr. Mensah. On Jan. 27, 2019, the victim was contacted by Mr. Mensah for a marijuana deal, and Mr. Mensah later visited the victim’s apartment with a friend. Mr. Martin, who was another of Mr. Mensah’s associates, arrived at the victim's apartment shortly thereafter. While the victim was preparing the marijuana for the men to purchase, Mr. Martin produced a gun and demanded the marijuana. The victim handed over the marijuana, and Mr. Martin fled.
The next day, the same victim and a friend were inside the same apartment when the victim heard an unexpected knock at the door. Mr. Mensah's unidentified friend from the night before could be seen on the other side of the peephole, but Mr. Mensah was not present. When the victim opened the door, Mr. Martin, Mr. Moses, and Mr. Beasley appeared and rushed into the apartment. One of the defendants, who was armed with a gun, demanded that the victim "run" his belongings, indicating that the victim was again being robbed, and ordered the victim and his friend into one of the bedrooms. The co-defendants absconded with both victims’ cell phones, a laptop, a PlayStation, and some marijuana. The victims locked the door behind the defendants and reported the robbery to campus police, implicating Mr. Mensah and his associates.
Surveillance video from the residence hall showed Mr. Martin, Mr. Moses, and Mr. Beasley entering the apartments together just prior to the robbery. Footage from a nearby gas station also showed the group, including Mr. Mensah, together shortly after the robbery. The following day, police apprehended Mr. Mensah as he was driving his car with Mr. Martin and Mr. Moses near the ODU campus. Mr. Mensah admitted to investigators that he had driven the men seen in the surveillance footage to and from the campus apartments and that at least one of the defendants had a firearm at the time. During a search of Mr. Mensah's car, a handgun was located near where Mr. Martin had been seated.
On July 22, 2021, Mr. Mensah pleaded guilty to robbery, and Judge Mary Jane Hall accepted his plea. On Friday, Judge Hall sentenced Mr. Mensah to seven years and six months, with an active time to serve of eight months. Mr. Mensah’s suspended sentence is conditioned upon three years of uniform good behavior and his completion of three years of supervised probation following his release. There are no sentencing guidelines for robbery convictions in Virginia.
Mr. Mensah was the fourth and final defendant from the Jan. 28, 2019, robbery sentenced in the Norfolk Circuit Court.
On Nov. 9, 2021, Mr. Martin pleaded guilty to robbery, conspiracy to commit robbery, and the use of a firearm in the commission of robbery, and Judge Hall accepted his plea. Mr. Martin was sentenced the same day to five suspended years for robbery, two suspended years for conspiracy, and three active years — the mandatory minimum sentence — for the use of a firearm. Mr. Martin's suspended sentences are conditioned upon his completion of two years of supervised probation following his release.
On April 27, 2021, Mr. Moses pleaded guilty to robbery and the use of a firearm in the commission of robbery, and Judge Everett A. Martin Jr. accepted his plea. On July 16, 2021, Judge Martin sentenced Mr. Moses to five suspended years for robbery and to three active years for the use of a firearm. Mr. Moses' suspended sentence is conditioned upon 20 years of uniform good behavior and his completion of supervised probation in that period following his release.
On Dec. 20, 2021, Mr. Beasley pleaded guilty to robbery and the use of a firearm in the commission of robbery, and Judge David W. Lannetti accepted his plea. Mr. Beasley was sentenced the same day to seven suspended years for robbery and to three active years for the use of a firearm. Mr. Beasley's suspended sentence is conditioned upon his completion of seven years of supervised probation following his release.
All the defendants have been banned from the ODU campus and are to have no contact with the victims.
"Mr. Mensah and his codefendants will serve time for the violent crime they committed," said Commonwealth’s Attorney Ramin Fatehi. "The defendants in this case had no excuse for committing their crimes, but this case reminds us that engaging in the illegal drug trade, even of marijuana, exposes people to the risk of injury or death. Money is not worth risking your life."
Senior Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney Andrew Kolp prosecuted Mr. Mensah's case on behalf of the Commonwealth.