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Posted on: May 23, 2022

Commonwealth v. Laurence L. Clark Sentencing

NORFOLK, Va. – Laurence Latif Clark, a 22-year-old Norfolk man, was sentenced in Norfolk Circuit Court on Friday, May 20, 2022, to 18 years in prison for gunning down 38-year-old Norman Elijah James in a 7-Eleven parking lot.

On the night of July 16, 2021, Norman James was outside the 7-Eleven at 7431 Tidewater Drive speaking to another individual when Mr. Clark, then 21 years old, drove up with his brother, then-19-year-old Quadir Kesean Brooks, and two passengers.

Mr. Clark backed his SUV into a parking space. The two rear passengers got out of the SUV, and Mr. Brooks started to talk to Mr. James from the front passenger seat of the SUV. The conversation turned into an argument, and Mr. Brooks got out of the SUV with a gun.

As Mr. Brooks continued to argue with Mr. James, Mr. Clark, who had initially stayed in the SUV, got out, walked around the rear of the SUV, walked up to Mr. James, and shot Mr. James multiple times in the head with a Glock 44 .22 caliber handgun. Mr. James died at the scene.

Mr. Clark and Mr. Brooks then got back in the vehicle and left the parking lot.

Surveillance video from the 7-Eleven showed the argument and Mr. Clark’s murder of Mr. James. Norfolk Police investigated the case and were able to identify and arrest Mr. Clark. The police questioned Mr. Clark, who told them that he had shot and killed Mr. James because he was concerned that his brother was about to shoot him.

On March 21, 2022, Mr. Clark pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and the use of a firearm in the commission of murder.

On Friday, Judge David W. Lannetti sentenced Mr. Clark to a total of 30 years in prison for second-degree murder with 15 years suspended, and to three years in prison — a mandatory minimum sentence — for the use of a firearm in the commission of murder, leaving a total active prison sentence of 18 years. Mr. Clark’s suspended sentence is conditioned upon 15 years of uniform good behavior and an indeterminate supervised probation upon his release.

“I extend my condolences to the family of Norman James, who died in this senseless act of gun violence,” said Commonwealth’s Attorney Ramin Fatehi. “Mr. Clark had no legitimate reason to kill Mr. James. Had Mr. Clark thought through his actions and chosen one of the countless other ways to resolve this disagreement, Mr. James would be alive, and both Mr. James and Mr. Clark would be home with their families. We have held Mr. Clark accountable, but doing so will not bring Mr. James back. We will continue to hold accountable the people who commit murder.”

Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Gordon D. Fraser led the prosecution of Mr. Clark’s case on behalf of the Commonwealth. Norfolk Police Investigators Kyle D. Austin and Matthew J. Walsh investigated the case on behalf of the Norfolk Police Department. Please contact Nia Tariq at 757-620-5454 for more information.

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