VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — A man was sentenced to over 27 years Wednesday for the 2016 shooting death of Devin Lowery Bethea in Virginia Beach.
In November 2016, 20-year-old Jon’nathan Kiondre Miller, of Chesapeake, pleaded guilty to second degree murder and use of a firearm in commission of a felony. A judge sentenced Miller to 43 years in prison with all suspended but 27 years and seven months.
Prosecutors say Miller and two other men arranged to meet Bethea, 23, to buy marijuana on May 2, 2016.
Miller and his friends met the victim in the parking lot of Bethea’s apartment complex just after midnight. Miller approached the victim and tried to pay for the marijuana with counterfeit cash. The victim had a counterfeit marker pen and checked the money to make sure it was real. At this point, Miller pulled out a .380 caliber gun and demanded Bethea hand over the marijuana.
Bethea refused, and prosecutors say Miller shot him three times — once in the chest, once in the back and a graze wound above his left eye. Bethea died from his injuries.
Miller got back into the car and left the scene with his friends.
A few hours later, police got a report of a dead body lying in a parking lot in the 4500 block of Shallowford Circle. A cell phone and a counterfeit money marker were found near Bethea’s body. Shell casings from a .380 caliber firearm were also discovered at the scene.
Neighbors told police that a dispute happened just after midnight and ended in gunfire. A vehicle was heard speeding off from the area.
Police searched Bethea’s cell phone and that way, developed Miller as a suspect. Text messages proved there was an agreement to buy marijuana made between the victim and Miller’s group.
In an interview with police, Miller ultimately admitted to trying to rob Bethea of the marijuana. He also said that during the course of the robbery, he did shoot the victim, but it was done accidentally.
Miller told police that the two men with him did not know he intended to rob the victim.
Miller has adjudications as a juvenile for burglary, obtaining money by false pretenses, two counts of grand larceny, assault, petit larceny two counts of possession of marijuana as well as convictions as an adult for possession of firearm by felon and a violation of probation.