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Posted on: July 14, 2023

Commonwealth v. Kenyatta F. Jones

Norfolk Man Sentenced for 2021 Homicide of Mother and Daughter, Commonwealth’s Attorney Calls for Witness Protection

NORFOLK, Va. – Today, a Norfolk judge sentenced 29-year-old Kenyatta Ferrell Jones to an active eight years in prison for shooting and killing a mother and daughter in 2021. Mr. Jones pleaded guilty earlier this year to two counts of voluntary manslaughter for the deaths of 52-year-old Alicia Ann Hereford and her daughter, 23-year-old Morgan Bazemore.

On March 12, 2021, Mr. Jones shot and killed both victims in the parking lot of Hunter’s Square Apartments on Goff Street. The shooting was captured on the dash camera of a witness, who provided the video to Norfolk Police. Another witness saw Mr. Jones arguing with both victims before shooting them and fleeing the parking lot in his vehicle. The police responded to the scene and recovered a gun from the handbag of one of the victims. Mr. Jones was located and arrested the following week.

The case was originally set for trial in March 2023. Despite repeated efforts by prosecutors and police, key eyewitnesses refused to come forward and testify, meaning that much of the evidence that the police had gathered, including the dash-camera video, would not be admissible at trial. It was anticipated that Mr. Jones would claim that he knew that one of the victims carried a gun and that he shot the victims in self-defense.

For those reasons, the Commonwealth and Mr. Jones’ defense counsel agreed that Mr. Jones would plead guilty to two counts of voluntary manslaughter with a sentence of up to eight years in prison. On March 3, 2023, the day before trial was set to begin, Norfolk Circuit Court Judge David W. Lannetti heard from both parties and accepted the plea.

On July 14, 2023, Judge Lannetti sentenced Mr. Jones to eight active years in prison with another 12 years suspended on the conditions that Mr. Jones have no contact with the Bazemore family and that he complete eight years of uniform good behavior as well as an indeterminate period of supervised probation.

“Cases like these are why we need a witness protection program in Virginia,” said Commonwealth’s Attorney Ramin Fatehi. “It pained me to make the plea offer in this case, but without the cooperation of the key eyewitnesses, I had no choice but to authorize a plea that guaranteed that Mr. Jones would go to prison for homicide. The alternative in this case was not a longer sentence; it was very likely to be a dismissal for lack of evidence, and I could not permit Mr. Jones to walk free with no consequences. This is why we need witnesses to cooperate and resources to help assure their safety. My thoughts remain with the victims’ families as they work through this difficult time.”

Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorneys Stephanie G. Johnson and Jessica L. Terkovich prosecuted Mr. Jones’ case on behalf of the Commonwealth.

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