By Stefanie Jackson – An Accomack County man associated with the Bloods gang who, for roughly the last decade, has avoided convictions on multiple felony charges including first degree murder, pleaded guilty and was sentenced to four years imprisonment for felony charges related to a routine traffic stop in January 2020 that led to an arrest, escape, and a month-long search for the missing suspect.
Tyvon Lyncurtis Smith, 28, of Parksley, pleaded guilty and was sentenced May 4 on two charges: possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and a third offense of petit larceny.
Those were two of four total felony charges certified by a grand jury in August 2020. The other two charges – escaping from custody of a police officer and resisting arrest – were not prosecuted by Accomack County Commonwealth’s Attorney Spencer Morgan, as part of a last-minute plea deal.
The Accomack County case was presented in the Northampton County Circuit Court due to the latter court’s ability to accommodate what was expected to be the Eastern Shore’s first jury trial since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Jurors instead were led out of the courtroom Tuesday morning and the Hon. Les Lilley, of Virginia Beach, presided as the commonwealth’s attorney explained the events that led up to the four felony charges against Smith and the guilty pleas entered on two of those charges.
Virginia State Trooper Kyle Jackson pulled over Smith’s vehicle Jan. 12, 2020, after he observed the vehicle with illegal window tints.
Jackson was on the scene along with Dep. Kenny Reese, of the Accomack County Sheriff’s Office, and Trooper Chase Autry and his K-9 police dog.
Upon approaching the vehicle, Jackson detected an odor of marijuana. The vehicle was searched and a small amount of marijuana was found. In the vehicle’s center console was a firearm, which Smith legally could not possess as a convicted felon.
Smith was arrested and taken to the Accomack County jail, but as soon as Reese opened the door of the police vehicle, Smith – who had slipped out of at least one of the handcuffs – exited the vehicle, fled on foot, and disappeared.
That began what Morgan called a “manhunt” that lasted about a month. The search for Smith involved the Accomack County Sheriff’s Office, Virginia State Police, U.S. Marshals, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Drug Enforcement Administration, according to a September 2020 report in the Eastern Shore Post.
Smith was found and arrested in Maryland in February 2020 and has remained in the custody of law enforcement.
DNA was taken from both Smith and the firearm. A lab analysis revealed the firearm contained a DNA mixture that was “not suitable for comparison” to Smith’s DNA, giving the defendant reason to request a jury trial, Morgan said.
When a pre-trial conference was held last Friday, the expectation was that a jury trial would be held May 4, Morgan said.
But it appeared that the jury’s “presence resolved the issues” of the case, Judge Lilley said.
After he thanked and dismissed the jurors, Lilley proceeded with sentencing.
When given the opportunity to speak before his sentencing, Smith only asked if he could hug his mother, who was present in the courtroom.
The judge deferred to Northampton County Sheriff David Doughty, who was reluctant to overstep the authority of the Accomack County Sheriff’s Office and recommended holding off on the request until after the sentencing.
Smith received the sentences recommended by the commonwealth’s attorney: three years for possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, and five years with all but one year suspended for the third offense of petit larceny.
Smith’s attorney then clarified for the public in attendance that the petit larceny charge concerned the theft of the handcuffs that belonged to Trooper Autry.
Smith will serve his sentences consecutively – a total of four years – in a state penitentiary, followed by three years of probation and 10 years of good behavior.
Smith’s previous convictions included burglary, larceny, and illegal firearm possession, Morgan said. Smith had 14 convictions as a juvenile, according to an August 2019 Eastern Shore Post report.
He avoided multiple felony convictions as an adult, most notably, for the shooting death of a man near Parksley who was waiting for a ride to work, the report continued.
The January 2013 prosecution of first degree murder and a related charge resulted in a mistrial; a second trial in August 2013 resulted in the charges being dropped after the judge stated Smith could not be convicted based on the testimony of a co-defendant.
This story has been edited for clarity.