Judge accepts motion to remove security guard’s attorney; case moved to June

CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WAVY) — Attorneys representing a security guard accused of shooting and killing a man in Chesapeake have been removed from the case, following a judge’s ruling.

A judge accepted a motion Thursday morning for the attorneys of Johnathan Cromwell to be withdrawn.

Cromwell, 22, is charged with second-degree murder in the shooting death of Jiansheng Chen on the night of Jan. 26.

Jiansheng Chen (Family photo)

Cromwell was patrolling the River Walk neighborhood on the night of the shooting.

Chen’s family says the 60-year-old did not speak any English, and claim he was playing the popular smart phone game Pokemon Go when he was shot. Family members say he played the game in order to keep up with this children and grandchildren.

The Chesapeake Commonwealth’s Attorney said in February’s hearing that Cromwell shot at Chen more than six times, hitting him four times in the chest. Minutes later, Cromwell reportedly asked a detective on scene about the accuracy of his shooting. Chen died at the scene.

Cromwell was denied bond in two separate hearings. A Chesapeake judge in February denied him bond based on the violence of the crime.

Last week, Cromwell’s attorneys requested to be taken off the case.

Emily Munn of Bischoff Martingayle represented Cromwell in both bond hearings; she was joined by Larry Woodward, Jr.

According to court paperwork, communication between the attorneys and their client has broken down. Documents say both sides have agreed to Munn and her co-counsel leaving the case.

Cromwell will now be represented by a public defender.

Cromwell’s father, Ed Cromwell, said this change was his son’s wishes.

“No communication at all,” Ed Cromwell said. “It was always a fight to get any type of information from her.”

Cromwell said his son is in solitary confinement in the Hampton Roads Regional Jail. It’s made it extremely difficult for the family to communicate with their son.

“He’s always reaching out to us to fill him on stuff,” Cromwell said. “Everything that we tell him is recorded. We can’t really say a whole lot to him.”

Ed Cromwell explained that he didn’t feel Munn and Woodward had his son’s best interests in his defense.

The case has been pushed back to June 27.