Release Date: Tuesday, January 18, 2011 3:00 p.m.
Harvey L. Bryant, Commonwealth’s Attorney for the City of Virginia Beach, announced today that Tyvonte Antonio Lawton, 19 years old, who previously resided in the 4700 block of White Tail Court in Virginia Beach, Virginia, was sentenced today by the Honorable Les Lilley for Robbery (6 counts), Rape, Object Sexual Penetration, Forcible Sodomy (2 counts), Aggravated Malicious Wounding, and Use of a Firearm (6 counts). Judge Lilley sentenced Lawton to a total of 114 years in the Department of Corrections. All but 45 years of that sentence was suspended conditioned upon supervised probation and good behavior for life. Before pronouncing his sentence, Judge Lilley described the victims as “indelibly injured” and Lawton’s life “indelibly changed.”
Had this matter gone to trial, the Commonwealth’s evidence would have proved that on September 10, 2008, Lawton and four co-defendants went to the Pembroke Lakes Apartments located in the City of Virginia Beach with the intention of robbing a drug dealer. Lawton and co-defendants Richard Richardson Jr. and Antwone Linn Jackson forced their way into the wrong apartment. The three armed men demanded the ten occupants to lie on the floor face down. Lawton and the other two men then started to empty the pockets of the victims. Two of the victims were then forced by gun point to a back bedroom where they were sexually assaulted. During this invasion, one of the victims heard a knock on the door. One of the gunmen ordered a victim to open the door. The victim took this opportunity to escape by running out of the doorway. He slammed the door shut and yelled to the other man at the door to run. At that point, the gunman came through the door and opened fire. The man who had knocked on the door sustained gunshot wounds to his abdomen and head.
Tyvonte Lawton was a juvenile at the time of these offenses. Due to the nature of the offenses, he was certified as an adult to Circuit Court. Lawton entered a guilty plea on March 31, 2010. The Commonwealth agreed to an active sentence of 45 years due to Lawton’s age at the time of the offenses and in exchange for his cooperation and testimony in the trials of two co-defendants.
Chief Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney Colin D. Stolle, Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney Scott M. Lang and Senior Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Lyla Zeidan prosecuted the case. Please call Macie Pridgen if additional information is desired.