Man sentenced to 138 years

Published 7:39 pm Wednesday, March 28, 2018

A Suffolk man was sentenced on Wednesday to 138 years in prison on first-degree murder and other charges.

Mandocous Rivers, 21, was found guilty in December after a three-day trial in the murder of 23-year-old Aaron L. Hunter on March 11, 2016.

According to testimony during the trial, Rivers and Markelyn L. Jones, 19, went to an apartment that night in the Wilson Pines Apartments on East Washington Street. The resident at the apartment had stepped outside but came back in with his head bleeding and trying to keep an invader out of the apartment.

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The man had told Rivers and Jones his young daughter was inside. It was not true and was only a ploy to keep them out, but they came in anyway.

One forced the man to the back of the apartment, and another came toward Hunter and another friend. He fired two shots, one of which hit Hunter. The other was located lodged in a wall.

“Rivers and Jones forced their way into the apartment with guns drawn thinking that a young child was present,” Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney Tom Shaia, who prosecuted the case along with Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Derek Colvin, wrote in an email Wednesday. “There was no evidence presented that Aaron Hunter presented any threat and was shot in cold blood.”

The defense on Wednesday presented that Rivers had been expelled from school in the ninth grade and never returned.

“At the end of the sentencing, Rivers did express remorse for the death of Aaron Hunter but maintained his innocence,” Shaia wrote in the email.

The jury recommended the 138-year sentence after the December trial. Circuit Court Judge Robert H. Sandwich Jr. imposed the sentenced Wednesday.

Markelyn Jones, who has earlier pleaded guilty, is set for sentencing on June 1.