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Posted on: July 26, 2022

Commonwealth v. Joseph J. Giles

NORFOLK, Va. – Joseph John Giles, a 66-year-old Norfolk man, was sentenced in Norfolk Circuit Court on Tuesday, July 26, 2022, to 16 active years in prison for murdering 63-year-old Douglas Warf.

Mr. Giles was captured on surveillance video from Jan. 13, 2021, entering and exiting Mr. Warf’s room at the Ramada Inn on North Military Highway, where Mr. Warf was being housed as a client of the Norfolk Community Services Board (CSB). Mr. Warf was suffering from cancer, was frail, and had wasted to 99 pounds. For reasons that are unclear, Mr. Giles fatally bludgeoned and stabbed Mr. Warf. According to Mr. Warf’s autopsy report, Mr. Warf suffered as many as 135 blunt and sharp force injuries to his face, head, neck, chest, back, hands, forearm, and leg.

Mr. Giles left Mr. Warf in bed and covered Mr. Warf’s body with a blanket before leaving the room to dispose of bloodied items, including pillows, a pillowcase, and a telephone that Mr. Giles had taken from the hotel room.

Later that afternoon or evening, CSB counselors knocked on Mr. Warf’s door to conduct his daily coronavirus temperature screening. Receiving no answer, they called the Norfolk Police Department to check on Mr. Warf’s wellbeing. The police arrived at about 9:00 p.m., entered Mr. Warf’s room, and found him lying in bed covered with a blanket. After removing the blanket, officers observed a large amount of blood and trauma to Mr. Warf’s body and pronounced him dead.

The police were able to find surveillance videos from the hotel and surrounding businesses showing Mr. Giles going in and out of Mr. Warf’s room and disposing of the things he had taken after murdering Mr. Warf. The police showed the videos to CSB counselors, who recognized Mr. Giles as the suspect because he was a former CSB client.

The police arrested Mr. Giles the following day, still wearing clothing stained with Mr. Warf’s blood, and Mr. Giles was found to be in possession of heroin and fentanyl.

On Tuesday, Mr. Giles pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and possession of a controlled substance, agreeing to serve 16 years in prison with additional time suspended and supervision upon release. Judge John R. Doyle III accepted the plea agreement and sentenced Mr. Giles to serve 25 years in prison, with nine years suspended, for murder and one year, with one year suspended, for drug possession. Mr. Giles’ suspended sentences are conditioned upon 20 years of uniform good behavior and indeterminate supervision upon his release. Mr. Giles has a criminal history dating back to the 1970s, including robberies, burglaries and larcenies.

“Douglas Warf died a terrible death, sick with cancer and basically alone in the world,” said Commonwealth’s Attorney Ramin Fatehi. “Every person deserves to live with dignity and to be remembered, and by holding Mr. Giles accountable, we have remembered Mr. Warf and brought him justice. Mr. Giles had no right to beat the life out of Mr. Warf. Now Mr. Giles will serve most if not all of the rest of his life in prison to atone for what he has done.”

Senior Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Michelle L. Newkirk led the prosecution of Mr. Giles’ case on behalf of the Commonwealth. Please contact Nia Tariq at 757-620-5454 for more information.

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