Trigger Warning: Child Abuse Descriptions Herein
NORFOLK, Va. – Duwayne Warren, a 27-year-old Norfolk man, was sentenced in Norfolk Circuit Court on Friday, May 27, 2022, to 50 years in prison for murdering his infant daughter in December 2019 and murdering his infant son and the mother of both children in December 2020.
On Dec. 19, 2019, Norfolk Emergency Services personnel responded to a report of an unresponsive baby at the home of Duwayne Warren and Epifani Andrews on the 300 block of Hicks Avenue. After their arrival, medics pronounced the couple’s 12-week-old daughter, Evonne Warren, dead. Mr. Warren told Norfolk Police detectives that he had co-slept with his daughter and, upon waking, he noticed she was cold to the touch and unresponsive. Evonne’s body was transported to the Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters where a Child Abuse Program (CAP) consultation report was completed, a referral to an anthropologist was made, and an autopsy was performed.
The doctor who completed the CAP report determined that Evonne died with multiple internal and external injuries including injuries indicative of intentional smothering; multiple healing blunt force injuries to her head and neck; bilateral rib fractures in different stages of healing; healing injuries to her liver, spleen, colon, and stomach; and triangular abrasions on her right cheek characteristic of injuries caused by an adult's fingernails. Evonne also had a low body weight and was determined to have been nutritionally and medically neglected.
The doctor who performed the anthropological examination of Evonne’s body found evidence of trauma that occurred both during Evonne’s short life and around the time of her death. The doctor concluded that Evonne had suffered fractures to two of her ribs in one instance of abuse, to two other ribs during a second instance and to eight ribs in a third instance. The trauma was noted to be consistent with the actions of someone squeezing the infant around her ribcage. At the time of Evonne’s death, she suffered an additional greenstick fracture to one of her ribs, which was unhealed when the doctor examined her body. The examination also determined that Evonne suffered tear-like fractures to the knee-ends of both her thigh bones characteristic of injuries caused by someone forcefully pulling and rotating the limbs.
Investigators from the Norfolk Police Department investigated the case and interviewed both Mr. Warren and Ms. Andrews. Both parents denied abusing Evonne or seeing anyone abuse her. They also said that nobody other than the two of them took care of her. Evonne’s official cause of death was undetermined but suspected to be asphyxia due to evidence of smothering. However, the medical examiner who conducted Evonne’s autopsy could not rule out death caused by co-sleeping adults.
In September 2020, Ms. Andrews gave birth to another child, Damere, with Mr. Warren. In his short life of only 14 weeks, Damere suffered the same terrible abuse that his sister Evonne had suffered. His autopsy showed that he had multiple scars, numerous rib fractures in different stages of healing, a healed fracture of his right arm, and a contusion of the brain, all the product of numerous and severe beatings.
On Dec. 29, 2020, the day Mr. Warren murdered 22-year-old Ms. Andrews and their son, Ms. Andrews went to Mr. Warren’s apartment in the 9500 block of Sixth Bay Street to pick up Damere. Mr. Warren, who no longer resided with Ms. Andrews, had been watching Damere over the Christmas holiday.
Mr. Warren led Ms. Andrews inside the apartment to a back room where Damere and his car seat were. Ms. Andrews did not know it, but by then Mr. Warren had beaten Damere to death. Damere’s autopsy showed that Mr. Warren had inflicted on him extensive bruising deep into his soft tissues; bruising and swelling of his scrotum; what appeared to be a bite mark to his leg; several scrapes; three more broken ribs; bleeding inside abdomen; and internal injuries to his liver, adrenal gland, bowel, and brain.
Once Mr. Warren got Ms. Andrews into the back room, he began to stab her, stabbing her at least 25 times with a knife as he chased after her in her attempt to flee. At the front door, Mr. Warren then proceeded to beat Ms. Andrews in the face with a sound bar to the point where she was unrecognizable.
Ms. Andrews’ autopsy showed that Mr. Warren had stabbed her in her face, scalp, neck, chest, arms, and right hand. Mr. Warren had severed Ms. Andrews’ cervical spinal cord and punctured her lung, leading to bleeding in her chest. Either of the wounds alone would have caused her death. The beating Mr. Warren inflicted on Ms. Andrews was also so severe that it alone would have killed her, and the damage he caused required the medical examiner to confirm Ms. Andrews’ identity using her dental records.
A call went to 911 as Mr. Warren was killing Ms. Andrews, and when the police arrived at the apartment, Mr. Warren stepped out of the apartment covered in blood. The police found Ms. Andrews lying unresponsive in a pool of blood at the door and Damere in the back room. Officers tried to resuscitate Ms. Andrews and Damere until arriving medics pronounced them both dead.
The police arrested Mr. Warren, and after waiving his Miranda rights Mr. Warren admitted to detectives that he killed both Ms. Andrews and his son. He claimed to not know why, besides saying that he is “always angry.” Mr. Warren further stated, “I murdered her. I love her, though. I don’t know why I hurt her.” Mr. Warren also confirmed to detectives that he wrote a Facebook post on the day he killed Ms. Andrews and Damere, in which he said: “My babies I love yall I’m so sorry. I pray God takes care of them … Piff I love you so much n I’m sorry for not being a better and loving father to our babies, may they RIP. I took everything from you and all I wanted to do is give you the world.”
When asked about Evonne’s death just over a year before the double-murder, Mr. Warren told the investigators, “I’ve wanted to kill myself so much ... It would have helped. She’d be here.” When the investigators asked who “she” was, Mr. Warren said, “Evonne. Damere would be here. Epifani would be here.” Mr. Warren also admitted to squeezing Evonne.
Mr. Warren pleaded guilty to three counts of second-degree murder on Nov. 8, 2021, with no agreement as to his sentence. On Friday, Judge Jerrauld C. Jones sentenced Mr. Warren to serve 50 active years in prison: 30 years for each of the three counts of second-degree murder, with 10 years suspended on two counts and 20 years suspended on one count. Mr. Warren’s sentence is conditioned upon uniform good behavior and indeterminate supervised probation.
“There is no soul more innocent and worthy of love than a baby’s,” said Commonwealth’s Attorney Ramin Fatehi. “Evonne and Damere deserved love, care, and affection, and in the short but terrible weeks that they lived, Duwayne Warren inflicted on them nothing but suffering and pain. Their mother Epifani lived a life too short and suffered a terrible death at the hands of the man who claimed to love her. Duwayne Warren will probably spend the rest of his life in prison, as he deserves. I only wish that there were some way to bring Epifani and her babies back.
“It is never OK to hit a child. It is never OK to hit someone one claims to love,” Mr. Fatehi said. “I ask anyone who fears for the safety of a loved one, especially a child, to call Child Protective Services, the Norfolk Police Department, the Norfolk Family Justice Center, or any of the other resources we have to address intimate-partner violence and, hopefully, to prevent these terrible tragedies.”
Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Shavaughn N. Banks led the prosecution of Mr. Warren’s case on behalf of the Commonwealth. Please contact Nia Tariq at 757-620-5454 for more information.
If you have or someone you love has fallen victim to crime, including but not limited to domestic violence, resources are available at the Norfolk Family Justice Center. For more information, please visit norfolkfjc.org, call 757-330-0376 or stop by the NFJC on the sixth floor at 500 E. Plume St., between 8 a.m. 5 p.m. on weekdays. If you are in crisis, call the 24/7 hotline by dialing 757-251-0144. In an emergency, please call 911.