Sunday, September 24, 2023

Williamsburg man given 45 years for role in 2009 Newport News murder

NEWPORT NEWS — A Williamsburg man was sentenced Monday to 45 years in prison for his “leadership role” in a 2009 murder here.

Mark Xavier Wallace, 37, was convicted following a jury trial on April 17, along with co-defendants Joseph James Cain Benson, of Boston, and Bryan Lamar Brown, of Newport News.

Benson was sentenced to life in prison on July 24. Brown was sentenced to 45 years in prison on July 19.

According to court documents, Louis Joseph Jr. was beaten and shot multiple times at his home in the Denbigh area while he babysat a 5-year-old child.

Brown, Benson and Wallace planned to commit a home invasion of Joseph to steal money and drugs, federal prosecutors said.

Wallace organized the home invasion and recruited Benson and Brown.

Brown took Benson and Wallace to Joseph’s house and also supplied the two firearms to commit the crime.

After the murder, Brown drove the pair away from the scene. Shortly thereafter, Brown had the firearms used in the murder taken to New York City to be sold, prosecutors said.

“Unbeknownst to Brown, law enforcement had a court authorized wiretap and overheard Brown setting up the deal to get rid of the murder weapons,” prosecutors said in a news release.

“We will remain steadfast in our fight against violent crime in Tidewater and are increasing our resources as we speak,” said G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia. “Wallace was the leader of a crew that brutally murdered Louis Joseph in his home in 2009. Today’s (Monday) sentence reflects what happens to those commit heinous crimes of violence…”

John Mangalonzo
John Mangalonzo
John Mangalonzo ( is the managing editor of Local Voice Media’s Virginia papers – WYDaily (Williamsburg), Southside Daily (Virginia Beach) and HNNDaily (Hampton-Newport News). Before coming to Local Voice, John was the senior content editor of The Bellingham Herald, a McClatchy newspaper in Washington state. Previously, he served as city editor/content strategist for USA Today Network newsrooms in St. George and Cedar City, Utah. John started his professional journalism career shortly after graduating from Lyceum of The Philippines University in 1990. As a rookie reporter for a national newspaper in Manila that year, John was assigned to cover four of the most dangerous cities in Metro Manila. Later that year, John was transferred to cover the Philippine National Police and Armed Forces of the Philippines. He spent the latter part of 1990 to early 1992 embedded with troopers in the southern Philippines as they fought with communist rebels and Muslim extremists. His U.S. journalism career includes reporting and editing stints for newspapers and other media outlets in New York City, California, Texas, Iowa, Utah, Colorado and Washington state.

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