By Linda Cicoira — Cynthia Harmon confessed to an Accomack Circuit Court jury last January that Evron Terrell Strand Sr. was her partner in love and crime. The illegal acts included selling drugs and arranging the murder of a police informant who was injured in a 2017 shooting.
Harmon said she testified against Strand, 44, of Nelsonia, in hopes of a getting a reduced sentence for herself and because it was “the right thing to do.” Last week, her better-late-than-never ethics were rewarded.
Judge W. Revell Lewis III accepted a plea bargain agreement between Harmon and Commonwealth’s Attorney Spencer Morgan. The document involved giving Harmon four years of active time in prison for conspiring to murder Nathaniel “Nate” Johnson and conspiring to obstruct justice. In exchange, she pleaded guilty to the two charges. Warrants initially said she committed 16 felonies.
The informant was shot three times just before he was scheduled to testify against Strand for cocaine distribution. His teenaged girlfriend was shot in the foot. Both victims recovered.
Harmon was sentenced to 20 years for the murder conspiracy charge with 16 years suspended. She was given a 10-year suspended sentence for obstruction. Harmon has been in jail since November 2017 and has served nearly half her term. She was ordered to be on supervised probation for three years and on good behavior for the rest of her life.
Morgan said Harmon, 53, of Parksley, “acted primarily as a switchboard for Strand.” She set up three-way phone conversations between Strand and prospective hitmen, including her son. Strand was in jail when the incidents occurred. After the shooting, Harmon, and her son, Debrandon Pierre “Beans” Harmon, 30, delivered payment to one of the suspects. The three went to the local Walmart to make the transaction. Cynthia Harmon does not have a prior criminal record, Morgan said.
Strand is scheduled to be sentenced on Aug. 1. He is being held in the Eastern Shore Regional Jail. A jury recommended he be sentenced to a total of 50 years in prison for seven charges. Debrandon Harmon is scheduled for trial Sept. 12.
Cynthia Harmon told Lewis she is enrolled in a GED program through the Accomack Jail. She quit school in the 9th grade, she said. Defense lawyer Tucker Watson offered no evidence at the trial. Harmon did not speak when Lewis offered her a final opportunity before sentencing.
Last week, Keenan Jibrel Berry, 26, of Parksley, who said he lived near Harmon, was given five years of active prison time for his part in the scheme. He was recorded telling Strand about Johnson’s location. Berry denied any involvement and pleaded no contest, which means he contended his innocence but pleaded guilty to conspiring to murder because of overwhelming evidence.
Aaron Jamarcus Bowens, also known as “Easy” and “BOBO,” 22, of Painter, was another of the men Strand asked to kill Johnson. Bowens pleaded guilty to the conspiracy. He was set to be sentenced last week. That final step was delayed until Sept. 5.
Roquan Lee’teq “Cake” Rogers, 21, of Exmore, the accused shooter, was convicted of three counts of conspiracy in connection with the murder plans. The jury was deadlocked on nine other counts, which included attempted capital murder. Both victims testified at Rogers’ trial that he was the person who shot them. At Strand’s trial, the young woman, who says she is no longer involved with Johnson, testified that she was going by what Johnson had said.
A new jury could read the transcripts to see if it can come to a conclusion about Rogers. His attorney has argued for all the charges to be dismissed. The first jury recommended a total of 17 years in prison for Rogers but when polled, one juror said he did not agree with the suggestion.