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Teen in Virginia Beach shooting spree pleads guilty to murder

Nicolas Isaiah Cates, 18, pleaded guilty to shooting and killing 60-year-old Christine Bender on Dec. 4. (Courtesy of the Virginia Beach Sheriff’s Office)

VIRGINIA BEACH — One of three teenagers facing charges in connection to a 2016 shooting spree in Virginia Beach pleaded guilty to murder.

Nicolas Isaiah Cates, 18, pleaded guilty to shooting and killing 60-year-old Christine Bender on Dec. 4. The woman was killed around 2:05 a.m. in the 900 block of Campion Court.

Another man, 19-year-old Maurice Boney Jr., of the 300 block of Canadian Arch, is also charged with first-degree murder in connection with Bender’s death. He is also charged with use of a firearm in the commission of a felony and conspiracy.

Bender’s death was one shooting in a series of six that shook Virginia Beach between Nov. 29 and Dec. 7.

The shootings include Nov. 29 on Skylark Drive, Nov. 30 on Old Clubhouse Road, Dec. 2 on Hawk Avenue, Dec. 4. on Campion Court, Dec. 7 on Dunnbury Court and Dec. 7 on Old Clubhouse Road.

Also accused is Angelo Antonyio Worlds. Police believe that he shot and killed 34-year-old Zacarias Aguilar-Ayala on Dec. 2.

And on Monday, Cates pleaded guilty to helping him do it.

In a March hearing, Virginia Beach homicide detective K. M. Fanelli testified in Virginia Beach Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court that Cates was high on Xanax and marijuana on Dec. 2 when he took a break from his job at Taco Bell and drove Worlds to Tapo Mobile Park.

Almost as soon as they arrived, Worlds got out of Cates’ car and shot Aguilar-Ayala in the torso, the detective said.

When police arrived at the crime scene, located in the 1300 block of Hawk Avenue, around 7:41 p.m., they found Aguilar-Ayala dead in the driver’s seat of the car. Fanelli testified that Worlds used Cates’ gun, which the teenager kept in the car. A gun was later found hidden in the attic of Worlds’ family home.

Both teenagers were 17 at the time of the shootings and turned 18 while they were in custody.

Worlds is charged with murder, three counts of aggravated malicious wounding and four counts of using a gun in the commission of a felony. His trial date is scheduled for Aug. 28.

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