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Commonwealth's Attorney News Releases

Posted on: February 2, 2023

Commonwealth v. Michael D. Tinsley

NORFOLK, Va. – Michael D. Tinsley, 36, was sentenced Tuesday to 13 active years in prison for savagely beating a 20-year U.S. Army veteran who was visiting Mr. Tinsley. The victim had been helping Mr. Tinsley transition to a new residence after the two met while obtaining Veterans Benefits Administration services.

On Jan. 20, 2020 the victim was in Mr. Tinsley’s trailer home on the 1800 block of East Little Creek Road. While the reasons for Mr. Tinsley’s aggression are not clear, Mr. Tinsley, who was intoxicated, later told police he intended to "beat (the victim) to death" with his bare hands when he awoke to what Mr. Tinsley believed was a sexual advance from the male victim.

Mr. Tinsley spent nearly 30 minutes beating the victim with his fists and a hammer, strangling the victim so hard that Mr. Tinsley crushed his windpipe. The victim lost and regained consciousness several times and was only able to escape when Mr. Tinsley physically exhausted himself. At that point, the victim was able to flee to a neighbor, who called 911. Norfolk Police responded and arrested Mr. Tinsley shortly thereafter.

The victim underwent multiple surgeries, including to correct multiple broken bones and to install a plate in his throat, and he continues to have balance and speech problems as a result of what Mr. Tinsley did to him.

On Monday, Mr. Tinsley pleaded guilty to strangulation, aggravated malicious wounding and abduction by force. On Tuesday, Judge Tasha D. Scott sentenced Mr. Tinsley to serve five years in prison for strangulation; 25 years, with 17 years suspended, for aggravated malicious wounding; and 10 years, all suspended, for abduction. Mr. Tinsley’s suspended sentences are conditioned upon indeterminate supervised probation and 20 years of uniform good behavior upon his release from prison, as well as no contact with the victim.

Mr. Tinsley’s criminal record includes a 2011 charge of assault and battery from Michigan.

"Whatever set off Mr. Tinsley that night, 'gay panic' is never a defense in Norfolk or in Virginia," said Norfolk Commonwealth’s Attorney Ramin Fatehi. "We have held Mr. Tinsley accountable for his terrible, inexcusable, and heinous crime. Hate and violence have no place in Norfolk, and Mr. Tinsley must now serve the time he has earned."

Senior Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Gordon C. Ufkes prosecuted Mr. Tinsley’s case on behalf of the Commonwealth. Please contact Nia Tariq at 757-620-5454 or for more information.


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