Friday, December 9, 2022

Double murder, double life terms. And then some

James Cole Gregory and Leonard Allen Morrison. (Southside Daily photo/Courtesy of the Hampton Police Department)
James Cole Gregory and Leonard Allen Morrison. (Southside Daily photo/Courtesy of the Hampton Police Department)

VIRGINIA BEACH — Two men were sentenced Monday to two life terms each for their roles in the 2017 robbery and murder of two other men here.

Leonard Allen Morrison, 30, who was found guilty by a jury in May, received two life terms plus 28 years for two counts of first degree murder, two counts of robbery and four counts of the use of a firearm.

James Cole Gregory, 21, got two life terms plus 30 years for the same crimes. He pleaded guilty to the charges.

On the evening of June 10, 2017, Morrison and Gregory planned a robbery of John Andrew Rathjen and Rayvone Sharome Miles who both lived on Archives Court in Virginia Beach, according to evidence presented at Morrison’s trial.

One of the victims was known to Gregory. At around 10 p.m., Morrison and Gregory entered the victims’ home, shot them each twice, and robbed them of wallets, phones, and electronics. Neighbors heard gunshots and looked outside to see two men getting into a car and fleeing.

Gregory was linked to the crime through text messages exchanged with one of the victims. This victim’s phone was found on the side of the road by a resident who was doing highway clean-up the day after the murder.

A few days later, Morrison and Gregory were apprehended by police following a separate crime in Hampton.  Both men made statements to detectives implicating themselves in the Virginia Beach double murder, although they minimized their involvement in the crimes, according to the Virginia Beach Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office.

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