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Posted on: April 15, 2022

Commonwealth v. Demarcus M. Mackey Sentencing

NORFOLK, Va. – Demarcus Malik Mackey, a 23-year-old Norfolk man, was sentenced in Norfolk Circuit Court on Thursday, April 14, 2022, to 40 years in prison for murdering 23-year-old Stefon T. Grimes and maliciously shooting his girlfriend, then-22-year-old Alexandra Mitchell, after Mr. Mackey and two others invaded Mr. Grimes’ home for a robbery under the false impression that Mr. Grimes was a marijuana dealer.

On June 25, 2019, just past 7 p.m., Mr. Grimes and Ms. Mitchell arrived at Mr. Grimes’ house on Keller Avenue after running some errands. While Mr. Grimes went back out to go to one more store, Ms. Mitchell let their puppy out in the front yard. While standing on the front porch, Ms. Mitchell was approached by a man who asked whether Mr. Grimes was home and if he could wait inside until Mr. Grimes returned. Ms. Mitchell declined and tried to go back inside. Two other men then jumped out of the bushes and all three of the armed men shoved their way inside the house with Ms. Mitchell. One of the men was later identified as Mr. Mackey.

Mr. Mackey and another intruder held Ms. Mitchell at gunpoint while the third man began searching the house. Mr. Grimes soon returned home, having been called by someone who witnessed Ms. Mitchell being pushed inside the residence. A shootout began between the men and Mr. Grimes, who was armed with a revolver. Mr. Mackey and his coconspirator shot Mr. Grimes in the forehead, both arms, abdomen, back and chest, and shot Ms. Mitchell through both arms and both legs. Ms. Mitchell, a former military medic who was unarmed, tried to save Mr. Grimes’ life despite her own serious gunshot wounds, but Mr. Grimes died on his living-room floor.

Mr. Grimes’ neighbors identified Mr. Mackey as one of the men who forced their way into Mr. Grimes’ house and fled in a getaway car afterward. Mr. Mackey later told Norfolk Police that for weeks he had been staking out Mr. Grimes’ cul-de-sac because he had been told that a marijuana dealer lived in the area and would be a good target for a robbery. The police found no evidence that Mr. Grimes or Ms. Mitchell were engaging in any illegal activity.

On July 12, 2021, a jury of Mr. Mackey’s peers found him guilty of second-degree murder, abduction, armed burglary and three counts of the use of a firearm in the commission of a felony.

On Thursday, Judge David W. Lannetti sentenced Mr. Mackey to a total of 83 years with 43 years suspended, leaving an active prison sentence of 40 years. This includes 40 years with 23 suspended for the charge of second-degree murder, 20 years with 13 suspended for the charge of armed burglary, and 10 years with seven suspended for abduction. The first use of a firearm in the commission of a felony (UFA) carries a mandatory minimum sentence of three years in prison. Second or subsequent UFA offenses carry mandatory minimum sentences of five years. Mr. Mackey’s suspended sentences are conditioned upon 20 years of uniform good behavior, no contact with Ms. Mitchell or Mr. Grimes’ families as well as indeterminate supervised probation upon his release.

Mr. Mackey has a criminal history including multiple larceny and firearms-related convictions.

“My heart goes out to the family of Stefon Grimes, who died in his own house at the hands of Mr. Mackey and his coconspirators,” said Commonwealth’s Attorney Ramin Fatehi. “My condolences also go to Ms. Mitchell, who suffered the trauma of being shot multiple times and watching her loved one die. I would like to express my thanks to Ms. Mitchell and to Mr. Grimes’ neighbors for coming forward and testifying at this trial. They are heroes and role models because, without their help, we could not have secured a conviction and accountability in this case.

“Finally, the fact that Mr. Grimes and Ms. Mitchell became innocent and tragic targets because of the mistaken impression that Mr. Grimes was selling marijuana teaches us two lessons. First, anyone who in fact engages in the illegal drug trade, whether for marijuana or other substances, does not just endanger others but also themself, their family, and their neighbors by making themself a target. Second, the General Assembly must take action to establish a legal marijuana market now. The sooner that the General Assembly brings the sale of marijuana out of the shadows and into the legitimate business world, the less likely are tragic cases such as this one.”

Mr. Mackey’s co-defendant, Ja’Quan R. Claiborne, was acquitted by the same jury that decided Mr. Mackey’s trial. The investigation by Norfolk Police into the third perpetrator and the getaway driver is still ongoing.

Senior Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Gregory B. Turpin led the prosecution of Mr. Mackey’s case on behalf of the Commonwealth. Please contact Nia Tariq at 757-620-5454 for more information.

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