Judge denies bond for murder suspect
Published 9:03 pm Friday, September 2, 2022
A Suffolk Circuit Court judge denied bond Thursday to a man charged with second-degree murder in connection to the shooting death of a Portsmouth man last November.
Kareem Jamal Hunter, 25, of Suffolk, also faces charges of shooting a firearm from vehicles, using a firearm in a felony–first offense and being a violent felon in possession of a weapon within 10 years and was one of three men charged in connection to the shooting death of Jason Javon Lewis, 21 in the 1100 block of Cogic Square.
Hunter’s jury trial is set for March 28, 2023. Second-degree murder is punishable by between five and 40 years in prison.
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Hunter’s attorney, Barrett Richardson, acknowledged what he said were unusual circumstances in asking for bond considering the nature of the alleged offenses, and Hunter’s prior criminal history as both a juvenile and an adult. But he said any bond should be under “strict conditions,” only allowing Hunter to leave home to work or to meet with his attorney.
Richardson said Hunter was also shot in the incident — Hunter was initially identified by the city as one of the victims of the shooting in a news release and had been hospitalized with injuries considered to be life-threatening — and said if he had been granted bond, he would have gone to live with a brother in Newport News and go to work with his brother in construction.
However, assistant commonwealth’s attorney Aneka Williams argued Hunter was recorded in a phone call telling another person that he had killed someone and said, “I got me one now.” Hunter also had said in the call that he was being treated like a victim and not a suspect, Williams told the court.
“I haven’t even been handcuffed yet,” Hunter said in the call, according to Williams.
Hunter, she said, had acknowledged previously being in the backseat of the same car as the victim and was negotiating a drug transaction, saying he had been jumped and was shot.
Williams said she opposed bond being set, that Hunter was a danger to the community and had a history of criminal activity.
Circuit Court Judge Carl Eason Jr. agreed in denying Hunter bond.
“I find that you are a danger to the community,” Eason said, adding that “no terms of bail would be sufficient to protect the community.”
A pretrial hearing has been scheduled for Jan. 26, 2023, and four days have been set aside for a jury trial, from March 28-31.
First-degree murder and additional charges were dropped in Suffolk General District Court in June against Dennis Whitehead and Latrawn Monique Armstrong Jr., who along with Hunter were arrested last December in connection to the incident.