Teen guilty in shooting
By Caitlin Davis, Senior Staff Writer
Mar 4, 2014, 15:51
HOPEWELL — The man accused of shooting an unsuspecting victim in the face last August appeared in Hopewell Circuit Court on Wednesday afternoon. Before the scheduled trial was about to begin, Dallas Lee Sydnor, 19, plead guilty to the three charges he was facing.
On August 17, of last year the Hopewell Police Department responded to a call at the 2800 block of Gordon Street at 8:40 p.m. for reports of shots fired. When police arrived on scene they located a victim with shrapnel wounds to the head and face.
The next day, Sydnor was arrested on charges relating to the incident and charged with malicious wounding, shooting into a occupied dwelling, use of a firearm in the commission of a felony, and brandishing a firearm.
In court on Wednesday, Sydnor plead guilty to malicious wounding, shooting into an occupied building and use of a firearm in a felony first offense. This came as a result of a plea agreement between Sydnor and the Commonwealth Attorney’s Office.
Judge Nathan Lee accepted Sydnor’s guilty pleas, and after a pre-sentence report is handed down to the court in May, he will be sentenced for the charges.
Sydnor’s defense attorney, Travis Williams, spoke after the trial and indicated the plea agreement was the best decision for his client.
“We considered the evidence that would be presented against him. We thought it was in his best interest to work towards a reduced plea,” Williams said. As part of the plea agreement Sydnor plead guilty to a charge of malicious wounding instead of aggravated malicious wounding, which the difference, Williams said, is the amount of jail time.
Before the verdict was handed down from Judge Lee, Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney Elbert Mumphery IV presented a summary of the evidence from the case should it have gone to trial.
On that day back in August, Sydnor was riding around Hopewell and had an altercation with a Brian Davis. The two men coincidently met at a service station where Sydnor flashed a gun at Davis. Davis not wanting a fight, got in his car and left the scene. He told police he noticed that Sydnor began following him but soon lost sight of him on City Point Road.
In the evening hours, Sydnor, who also had other occupants in the vehicle, traveled to the house on Gordon Street. When Sydnor parked the car, he went around to the trunk and pulled out a shotgun, prompting the other occupants in the car to question him on what he was going to do, and one followed him up to the house.
On the other side of the door that night, the man in the residence heard a knock on the door. He was never to able to see who was on the other side as the shot shattered the glass. The other resident in the house found the man bleeding from his face and immediately contacted law enforcement.
In the initial call to police that night, Mumphery said the victim told police his grandson was having “beef” with the defendant. One of the neighbors was also able to give a description of Sydnor’s vehicle.
Mumphery said that had the witnesses testified, they would have said they heard two shots fired. After the two shots were fired, Sydnor appeared back at the car and drove to Davisville, a housing area in the city. Sydnor exited the vehicle with the shotgun, and a short time later, appeared back at the car without the gun.
Though the gun was never recovered from the incident, gunshot residue tests were performed on both of Sydnor’s hands and came back indicative of the residue consistent with a shotgun. A handgun was also apprehended from Sydnor’s vehicle.
Another piece of evidence that would have been presented at trial included phone calls made from Riverside Regional Jail by the defendant to witnesses. Mumphery said the calls illustrate Sydnor trying to “mask his involvement” in the case.
Though Sydnor’s pleas of guilty were accepted by the judge, his sentence will not be handed down for another couple months. As part of the plea agreement, the sentence is to be handed down by the courts. The pre-sentence report is scheduled to be presented May 28.
“The communication between the officers working the case and with the Commonwealth Attorney’s Office led to a successful prosecution,” John Keohane, Hopewell Police Chief, said in a statement released Wednesday.