Man given maximum sentence for Va. Beach manslaughter

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — An 18-year-old in Virginia Beach was sentenced Monday for fatally shooting a man who had threatened him.

Circuit Court Judge H. Thomas Padrick sentenced Nijel Isaiah Chambers to 10 years in prison for voluntary manslaughter, according to Macie E. Pridgen with the Office of the Commonwealth’s Attorney.

The offense happened on November 17, 2012, when Chambers was a juvenile. He was certified as an adult because of the serious nature of the crime, Pridgen said.

Pridgen said the Commonwealth’s evidence proves Chambers and the victim, Rene Rivera, did not know each other, but were in a 7-Eleven store on Baker Road when they were involved in a confrontation with a third person.

“Rivera, who was intoxicated, bumped into the third person, and Chambers laughed at Rivera. Words were exchanged between Rivera and Chambers, then both men left the store separately,” Pridgen said.

Chambers was walking home with two female family members when Rivera drove past them, stopped, got out and engaged Chambers in a verbal altercation. In response, Chambers flashed a gun.

“Rivera then stated words to the effect of, ‘Is that what you got? Wait here, I’ve got something for you,’ and went back to his van,” Pridgen said.

That’s when the Commonwealth says Chambers shot Rivera three to four times in the back. Rivera died in the operating room at a local hospital. Pridgen said no weapons were found in Rivera’s van.

The gun used to kill Rivera was found wrapped in a shirt under Chamber’s bed, his fingerprint was found on the gun, and ammunition matching that of the crime scene was found at his home.

Chambers pleaded guilty to the crime on February 25. He said he feared Rivera, even though he never saw Rivera with a weapon.

Chambers’ sentence is the most a person convicted of voluntary manslaughter can be punished with. It “greatly exceeds the Virginia State Sentencing Guidelines, which recommended that Chambers serve no more than 5 years and 11 months,” Pridgen said.

Chambers has two adjudications as a juvenile for possession of burglary tools and providing false ID to police.

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