Victim’s mother angry over murder plea bargain

SURRY COUNTY, Va. (WAVY) – A controversial plea agreement isn’t sitting well with the mother who says there should be no break for the suspects connected to her son’s murder.

“June 10 will be two years, and I’m still living this nightmare,” Katina White said. “After all the years of my life, this has been the worst two yeas I have ever lived.”

That nightmare started when her son, Ty’Quan Johnson, was caught in the crossfire of a fight at a Surry County graduation party on Alliance Road. Johnson was 3.8 GPA student who had football scholarship to North Carolina Wesleyan.

After a 16-month investigation, deputies arrested seven men in connection with Johnson’s death: Raiheem Winfield, Montrail Stringfield, Robert Rose, Ronnie Wells, Jamal Brown, Darryl Shaw and Horace Thomas. They all faced different charges, some murder. Now five of the seven have taken a plea agreement. In return, they will testify against the other two suspects.

White doesn’t like that at all: “They took the guns to the party. They had plans to shoot somebody and you all think they deserve no jail time?”

Special Prosecutor, Isle of Wight Commonwealth’s Attorney Wayne Farmer, said there two groups of teens who showed up to the party. The Surry group began firing at those from Wakefield. More than 40 shots rang out from at least six different guns. The 200 other teens at the party ran for cover.

Brown, Stringfield, Thomas, Shaw and Winfield pleaded guilty to a lesser charges. Winfield, Shaw and Thomas were originally charged with murder. Shaw and Thomas pleaded down to participating in a riot while armed and Winfield, participating in a riot. All charges are still felonies.

“The goal is to have them convicted of felonies so they won’t be able to carry a firearm,” Farmer said. “The co-defendants in part are required to cooperate with Commonwealth. They could testify in trial. If they refuse, charges could be brought back.”

Ronnie Wells and Robert Rose will still go to trial. Wells is charged with murder, and Rose attempted murder. Both have trial dates in May.

“They got off easy,” White said. “It’s not enough, because Ronnie Wells wasn’t the only one shooting.”

Sentencing for the five who pleaded guilty happens in June.

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