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Posted on: November 8, 2023

Commonwealth v. Brian L. Spears

Getaway Driver Sentenced to 13 Years for Carjacking, Armed Robbery, Malicious Wounding From August 2022 Incidents

NORFOLK, Va. – On Friday, 22-year-old Brian Lacole Spears was sentenced in Norfolk Circuit Court to 13 years in prison for robbing a man at gunpoint and carjacking a woman last summer.

The morning of Aug. 20, 2022, Mr. Spears and three co-defendants stole items from a vehicle parked on Norchester Avenue. When the car owner approached the group, he was robbed of his keys and Apple AirPods at gunpoint. The group fled after the robbery, with Mr. Spears driving them in a silver Dodge Charger.

That same morning, the group arrived at a residential area off Norview Avenue and attempted to steal a man’s truck but were scared off when the man saw them. Mr. Spears then drove the group up the street to Giles Circle, where they saw a Hyundai Tucson running outside of a residence. The Tucson’s owner was not in the driver's seat and was standing nearby. One of the individuals with Mr. Spears exited the Charger and entered the driver's seat of the Tucson to drive it away. When the Tucson’s owner saw what was happening and she tried to stop the man, he punched her in the face and knocked her to the ground, also hitting her with her own car as he drove away. The man soon struck another parked vehicle with the Tucson, wrecking it, and fled the scene on foot with the victim’s purse. The man rejoined the group when Mr. Spears picked him up some streets over.

While at the scene of the carjacking, Norfolk Police detectives were alerted by the victim whose AirPods were stolen that that the headphones’ location was pinging in the 5700 block of Northampton Boulevard in Virginia Beach. The Virginia Beach Police Crime Suppression Unit responded to a restaurant at that location, where officers saw the silver Charger parked and Mr. Spears’ group exiting the vehicle. Virginia Beach officers also confirmed that the Charger had been reported stolen two days prior.

During their surveillance, officers saw Mr. Spears get back into the Charger and drive it away. Virginia Beach and Norfolk officers followed Mr. Spears and activated their lights and sirens, but Mr. Spears took off at a high rate of speed and led officers on a pursuit along the Virginia Beach and Norfolk border. Officers lost sight of Mr. Spears in a residential area during the pursuit but soon located the parked Charger and apprehended Mr. Spears on foot near the intersection of Norristown Drive and Lillian Avenue. Mr. Spears was carrying a backpack with two loaded, semi-automatic pistols inside.

On June 29, Mr. Spears pleaded no contest to felony carjacking, eluding, armed robbery and malicious wounding, and to misdemeanor carrying a concealed weapon, and Judge Mary Jane Hall found him guilty.

On Friday, Nov. 3, Judge Hall sentenced Mr. Spears to 40 years in prison, with 27 years suspended on the conditions that Mr. Spears complete five years of uniform good behavior and an indeterminate period of supervised probation, have no contact with the victim, and pay restitution to the victim.

For an unrelated case following an August 2021 incident, Mr. Spears pleaded guilty to grand larceny auto, eluding, and misdemeanor carrying a concealed weapon in June 2022. Judge Robert B. Rigney deferred a finding of guilt and took the matter under advisement, giving Mr. Spears an opportunity to avoid felony convictions if he was of uniform good behavior and complied with probation requirements for one year. Because Mr. Spears committed the subsequent August 2022 offenses, Judge Hall on June 29 also found Mr. Spears guilty of his 2021 charges and, on Friday, sentenced Mr. Spears to six more suspended years in custody.

“In 2021, Mr. Spears was 20 years old and got a second chance to avoid being a convicted felon and to get his life in order,” said Commonwealth’s Attorney Ramin Fatehi. “Rather than take that second chance, Mr. Spears chose to commit new crimes, and now he must serve his sentence.”

Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Madeline C. Woodruff prosecuted Mr. Spears’ case on behalf of the Commonwealth, and Norfolk Police Detective Patrick A. Garvey led the investigation.

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