Victim’s family describes interaction with killer in court

NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) – A man admitted to killing the woman whose body was found in his closet in 2012 Monday. The woman’s family talked to 10 On You Side about what happened inside the courtroom after his confession.

Amanda Howie with the Norfolk Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office said Jamiel Graves entered a guilty plea on one charge of capital murder and killing more than one person in a three-year period. He was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Phylicia Robinson, photo courtesy Robinson's family.
Phylicia Robinson, photo courtesy Robinson’s family.

Phylicia Robinson and Graves lived in separate units in a duplex on Marlow Avenue. Robinson was reported missing by family members in 2012. It took weeks before her body was found in Graves’ closet.

Robinson’s family told they spoke to Graves in the court about Robinson’s life and the emptiness her 7-year-old son feels without her.

“We talked about how he hurt us, how he affected her son, and how he cries at night because he misses her,” said Denisha Robinson, Phylicia’s sister. “We talked about how on holidays and birthdays we don’t get to see her.”

“Today was a lose-lose situation for me,” said Robinson’s cousin, Katisha Sellers. “No one wins. We will never get Phylicia back.”

Robinson’s family said Graves could not explain why he killed her, but he did show some remorse.

“He did apologize,” Sellers said. “He didn’t act like it didn’t matter. He did acknowledge the fact that he took someone we loved.”

Now Robinson’s family is trying to move on, including her son, Tyshawn Webb, who has to grow up without a mother.

“She was a great mom, and I miss her very much,” Webb said.

“I want her to be remembered as the awesome, beautiful, black queen she was,” Sellers said. “Phylicia would walk into a room and make the sun shine in the middle of a stormy day.”

Graves is also facing murder charges for the death of his ex-girlfriend, Mandi Myers. She was found strangled to death in her home in Virginia Beach. That case is still pending and he’s scheduled to be in court in July.

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