< Back to news items
Melvin Abbitt found guilty of Malicious Wounding and other Felonies
September 15, 2006
For Immediate Release
On September 12, 2006 a Lynchburg Circuit Court jury
found 22-year old Melvin Devon Abbitt guilty of four felony offenses:
Malicious Wounding, Use of a Firearm in a Felony, Shooting from a Vehicle,
and Unlawfully Shooting at an Occupied Building. The jury recommended that
the defendant serve a 28-year penitentiary sentence for his crimes. Judge
Mosby Perrow ordered that the defendant remain in jail with no bond pending
his formal sentencing hearing scheduled for November 17, 2006 at 9:30 a.m.
The facts of the case revealed that on Monday, March 27, 2006 at
approximately 2:30 p.m., the defendant and four others participated in a
drive-by shooting during which at least 17 shots were fired in the
Greenfield Market parking lot. As a result of the shooting, 18-year old
Nymar Thomas was shot in the leg and a bullet was fired into the residence
located at 125 Bright Star Court. Eyewitnesses at the scene of the shooting
identified the defendant as being one of four shooters. The defendant and
the other shooters were seen leaving the scene in a maroon colored Nissan
Altima. Lynchburg Police were called to the scene and quickly located the
drive-by vehicle abandoned on Tyree Street. Police found two shell casings
lying on the ground beside the vehicle.
Police were given information that the defendant was seen just after the
shooting hiding out at a house only three blocks away from the location of
where the drive-by vehicle was recovered. A witness testified at trial that
she picked the defendant up only 30 minutes after the shooting in the area
of where the drive-by vehicle was recovered and drove the defendant across
Two days after the shooting, the defendant was arrested and during a search
of the defendant's person police recovered a loaded 9mm firearm. Police sent
the empty shell casings found at the scene of the shooting and the shell
casings found where the vehicle was recovered along with the firearm taken
from the defendant to the Department of Forensic Science in Roanoke for
analysis. A firearm's expert testified at trial that he was able to match 9
of the shell casings to the gun that was taken from the defendant.
Lead investigator Tony Martin testified at trial that when he interviewed
the defendant after the defendant's arrest that the defendant was unable to
give a clear explanation as to his whereabouts at the time of the shooting.
The final piece of evidence introduced at trial was a letter written by the
defendant one month prior to the trial date. In this letter, the defendant
wrote that he needed his friends to prevent all the eyewitnesses from
testifying against him at trial. The defendant wrote, "if an eyewitness show
up and point me out, I'm gone - they gone throw away the key".
During the sentencing phase of the hearing, evidence was introduced
regarding the defendant's activity in local gang activity. Jurors were shown
photographs of the defendant's tattoos and heard testimony from Investigator
Randy Trent regarding the defendant's involvement with the "16th Street"
This case was prosecuted by Deputy Commonwealth's Attorney Chuck Felmlee.