Sentence Given For Murder-For-Hire

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By Linda Cicoira — The first of a half dozen suspects charged in connection with the October 2017 murder-for-hire scheme of a police informant was sentenced recently in Accomack Circuit Court to 10 years in prison.

All but time served was suspended for Deshawn Markiese Drummond, 28, of Savageville. The term was given for conspiracy to commit obstruction of justice. Drummond was initially charged with conspiring to commit capital murder and conspiring to commit capital murder with a prisoner. Those counts will not be prosecuted in accordance with a plea agreement Drummond made with Accomack Commonwealth’s Attorney Spencer Morgan.

Those details of the agreement were disclosed in a trial but the record itself is sealed. 

“I didn’t try to do no murder,” Drummond testified. “He (Evron Terrell Strand Sr.) wanted to get off his charges” so he used codes to tell Drummond to kill Johnson. “I’m telling you how the streets is … at first he said whatever I needed and pick a car out of his yard” as payment. “I made no attempt … I’m pleading guilty to where I was on the phone.”

A jury has recommended that Strand, 44, of Deer Drive in Nelsonia, be sentenced to 50 years in prison for seven felony counts that resulted in the shooting of Nathaniel “Nate” Johnson Sr., 30, the informant, and his then-girlfriend, 20-year-old Dezarae Smith. The jury also recommended Strand be fined a total of $202,500. Sentencing is scheduled for June 6.

Strand was awaiting trial for distribution of cocaine when Johnson and Smith were shot while walking on Linhaven Circle, near Painter, on Halloween night 2017. Strand wanted Johnson to be unable to testify against him.

In another case, James Patrick Bowen, 43, of Texacotown Road in Melfa, was sentenced to two years with all but 30 days suspended for possession of hydrocodone on Aug. 5, 2017.

Good behavior was ordered for five years. His driver’s license was suspended for six months.