Drug boss gets life in prison
By James Peacemaker, Jr. Managing Editor
Dec 11, 2013, 12:48
A man who trafficked large amounts of drugs into the Tri-Cities was sentenced to life in prison on federal charges that he conspired to gun down witnesses.
A plea agreement makes it so he will not get the death penalty, according to court records.
Leroy Scott Jr., 49, of Suffolk, was charged with paying an enforcer shoot a man in Hopewell and in Petersburg, and to kill an informant, in order to keep the three from testifying in a drug case.
He pleaded guilty Aug. 16 to five felony charges, including conspiracy, witness tampering, retaliation against witnesses and the use of a gun resulting in the murder. He was sentenced on Nov. 14. In addition to life sentences for each count, he will have to pay restitution of $2,420 and fees of $500.
Scott’s lawyer has filed a notice to appeal the case. In the plea deal, the defendant waived the right to appeal, except specifically to try and reverse a decision to allow his statement to law enforcement officers on Oct. 12, 2012, in which he detailed criminal activity after he was read his Miranda rights.
He was already in prison for other crimes and is not scheduled to be released until 2028.
Scott was indicted in U.S. District Court in Norfolk on Jan. 25. The indictment says that from October 2000 through March 2003, Scott conspired with several people to kill 37-year-old Junior Bivins Jr. and wound two others.
According to the indictment, it all started on Oct. 5, 2000. Ronnie Lee Walker was arrested in Petersburg while in possession of about 5 kilograms of cocaine that he had received from Scott. After Walker’s arrest, he agreed to cooperate with the Drug Enforcement Administration and set up another drug buy.
The document says Scott agreed to have a someone deliver the cocaine to an East Coast gas station on Route 460 in Prince George. Shirley Boone arrived at the location and was arrested with approximately 2 kilograms of cocaine. She was later convicted of conspiracy to distribute and possession with intent to distribute narcotics.
The indictment says Walker told police about purchasing large quantities of cocaine and marijuana from Scott and identified Kenneth Lee Pope as another purchaser of drugs from Scott.
On March 21, 2001, Walker and Pope testified to a federal grand jury in Norfolk about Scott’s drug trafficking. The indictment says Scott approached Michael Donnell Butts and asked him to help kill those who were going to testify.
In May 2001, Scott took Butts and an unnamed conspirator to Hopewell and showed them an apartment occupied by Pope, one of the people he feared was cooperating with authorities, according to the charging document. Authorities say Scott also provided Butts with a gun.
On June 4, 2001, in Hopewell, the indictment says Pope was ambushed by Butts and Wayne Johnson. The documents says Johnson shot and stabbed Pope, but Pope wrestled the firearm away from him and shot Johnson as he fled. Authorities say Butts paid Johnson $1,500 for his part in the shooting with money provided by Scott.
Ten days later, a warrant for Scott was issued but he could not be found.
The next month, Scott took Butts to Petersburg and showed him a house occupied by Maurice Batts. Scott said that the man who lived there was a partner of Pope, and that he wanted him killed so that he would not testify, the indictment says.
Authorities say that on July 11, 2001, Butts, Tracy Wendell Adams and two others drove a vehicle rented by Scott to Petersburg, where Adams shot Batts. The next day, Scott paid Butts $2,500.
In Fall 2001, Scott told Butts that Bivins was also talking with federal authorities, the document says. According to the indictment, Scott told Butts where Bivins lived and suggested methods to lure Bivins away from his home and kill him. It says Scott promised to pay Butts another $2,500.
Authorities say Butts recruited Adams again, offering to pay him $1,000 to kill Bivins.
On Nov. 20, 2001, Butts drove Adams to a street near Bivins’ home in Suffolk and gave him a gun for the murder, according to the indictment. It says Butts waited in his vehicle as Adams shot Bivins in the front yard of his home. He died at the scene.
According to the Virginian-Pilot, Butts, pleaded guilty to five felonies in 2009 related to the killing and the two shootings. The Pilot also stated that Butts had previously been arrested about 30 times on charges including drug possession and robbery.