Virginia Beach mother wanted to kill witnesses in son’s murder case

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) – A Virginia Beach mother has been charged with trying to hire someone to kill several witnesses and co-defendants in her son’s murder case.

Police say Marie Leary is charged with five counts of soliciting murder – one count for each person she allegedly wanted to get out of the way. Her son Marquel Leary is a murder suspect in a July 2016 shooting.

Court records say Leary, Maurice Walters, Anton Joshua, Casheon Jones, Sean Patterson and Marcus Hanberry went to a Virginia Beach apartment on Overlook Court to commit a robbery. Court paperwork added they wanted to steal a gun and an ATM card from the intended victim.

According to court documents, the six friends went to the victim’s home wearing masks and armed with guns. When they got there, a gun battle erupted. The intended robbery victim fired at Leary and then Leary fired back. The victim was hit in the leg and Leary in the stomach.

Another bullet hit 18-year-old Taiwan Simon in the head. He died two days later.

Police arrested all six suspects in connection with the shooting, but months later a Grand Jury indicted Leary, Walters and Joshua with murder. Court records show the bullet that killed Simon came from the gun Leary was holding.

Leary’s trial is scheduled for July 11. Several of his co-defendants, along with a handful of witnesses, plan to testify for the Commonwealth. To prevent that from happening, police say his mother Marie was looking to hire a hit man.

In court, the judge read the names of the five witnesses and co-defendants she was trying to knock-off, including Joshua and Walters. She told the judge she plans to hire her own attorney. She is scheduled to have her preliminary hearing July 27.

She declined 10 On Your Side’s a request for an on-camera interview.