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Sunday, May 26, 2024

Virginia Beach man sentenced for 2016 murder, robbery

Malik Brown (Southside Daily photo/Courtesy of the Virginia Beach Sheriff's Office)
Malik Brown (Southside Daily photo/Courtesy of the Virginia Beach Sheriff’s Office)

VIRGINIA BEACH — A local man was sentenced Wednesday for his part in the murder of a 19-year-old man in 2016.

Malik Richard Brown, also 19, received 29 years in prison – with 11 years suspended – for first-degree murder, robbery, use of a firearm and conspiracy.

He pleaded guilty to the charges in March 2017, and Virginia Beach Commonwealth’s Attorney Colin Stolle said the sentence Wednesday “was the maximum allowed under the plea agreement.”

“Brown was a juvenile at the time of the offense, but his case was certified to Circuit Court for trial as an adult due to the serious nature of the charges,” Stolle said in a news release.

Brown’s co-defendant, 32-year-old Harold Vincent Cole Jr., who is known as “Taliban,” was sentenced in May to 29 years in prison – first-degree murder, robbery, use of a firearm and conspiracy.

Cole was found guilty of those crimes following a three-day jury trial in January.

The case

Prosecutors said Brown made arrangements to buy marijuana from 19-year-old Gregory Delong on June 16, 2016.

“Brown and Delong knew each other previously, and Brown was unhappy with Delong about the quality of the marijuana Delong previously sold him,” Stolle said in a news release. “Around the same time, Harold Vincent Cole Jr., who went by the name of ‘Taliban,’ owed money to Brown. ”

Taliban and Brown came up with a plan to rob Delong during the drug deal, so that Brown’s “debt from Taliban could be made whole.”

Prosecutors said Cole encouraged Brown to set up the drug deal with Delong, and the two planned to “scare” Delong.

Around 3 that afternoon, Delong texted Brown to meet in an apartment complex parking lot at 1033 Carriage House Road.

Harold Vincent Cole Jr. (Southside Daily photo/Courtesy of the Virginia Beach Sheriffs Office)
Harold Vincent Cole Jr. (Southside Daily photo/Courtesy of the Virginia Beach Sheriffs Office)

Brown and Cole got into Delong’s car when Delong arrived there, Stolle said in the news release.

Cole, who was at the back seat behind Delong, “began to strike Delong in the head with the gun.”

Brown got out of the car to see whether the scene had attracted the attention of police or bystanders.  Brown heard Delong begging for Cole to stop.

“Taliban then shot Delong once in the head. Delong died immediately,” Stolle said.

Cole and Brown stole marijuana and fled the scene, only to return a few minutes later “to clean up potential evidence left behind.”

Cellphone records indicated that Brown was the last person Delong contacted before he was found dead.

Further cellphone analysis showed frequent communication between Brown and Cole shortly after the murder and in the days following, including messages referencing media reports of the murder, Stolle said.

While in jail shortly after his arrest, Cole confessed to another inmate “about his involvement in the murder.”

Another witness testified that Cole tried to give him the murder weapon.

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