Release Date: Thursday, January 28, 2010 5 p.m.
Harvey L. Bryant, Commonwealth’s Attorney for the City of Virginia Beach, announced today that Jerome Usher, 46 years old, was found guilty by a jury on two counts of First-Degree Murder. The Honorable H. Thomas Padrick, Jr. presided over the trial. The jury recommended a sentence of imprisonment for life on both counts. The formal sentencing will take place on March 30, 2010.
The Commonwealth’s evidence proved that on November 4, 2007, the defendant staked out the home of Evelyn Dillon, where his girlfriend had been staying. Ms. Dillon became concerned when seeing Usher sitting inside his truck and called a friend, James Vass, to stop by and make sure everything was secure. A few minutes after his arrival, Mr. Vass left to pick up Brenda Gregory-Brunette from work. Usher posted outside of the home until he saw Mr. Vass and his girlfriend, Brenda, arrive at the home. All three went inside the home with no conflict, while unbeknownst to James and Brenda, Usher concealed a hunting knife with a six-inch blade. Usher testified that he remembers Brenda dropping her head and Jim crossing his arms which triggered the killings. Ms. Dillon hid in her bathroom with her dog while she called the police. The defendant stabbed his girlfriend a total ten times and slit her throat. Mr. Vass was on his way to tell Evelyn to call the police but was stopped when the defendant fatally stabbed him in the back.
Usher dropped the knife upon his exit and drove to the police department. While driving, he called his brother and a couple friends confessing to them that he killed Brenda and the “white boy”. During Usher’s testimony, he claimed to be in a “daze” and didn’t remember the killings.
The defendant’s prior convictions consist of: Maiming and Use of a Firearm in the Commission of a Felony in 1997 in Newport News, Virginia.; Possession of Concealed Weapon by a Convicted Felon and Trespassing in 2004 in Norfolk, Virginia.
Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney Scott M. Lang and Associate Commonwealth’s Attorney Eleanor Gaines prosecuted the case. Please call Julie Pickell if additional information is desired.