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Jerry Butler, Norfolk  

During the course of a robbery, Jerry and his cousin, Morrison “Kerry” Butler, 37, were both shot November 29, 1979. Kerry did not survive. The shootings occurred during a robbery at Kerry's gun shop where Jerry helped with the bookkeeping for Kerry.  Five suspects were outside waiting for the shop to close. Two suspects approached, two were lookouts and one, the driver.  A struggle ensued, Kerry was shot once while Jerry was inside setting the alarm.  Jerry turned to leave the shop and was also shot once.  The perpetrators then shot Kerry three more times, point blank in the head.  Jerry survived although he needed almost a year for rehabilitation.  Several months later an informant came forward. There were five suspects and five separate trials.  The shooter was sentenced in August 1980 to thirty-five years to life.  The length of the sentencing
for the others is not known.

 

 

Polly Franks, Richmond

Her two daughters, 7 and 9 years old, were sexually assaulted in October 1995, by a so-called “family friend” Joseph Frank Smith, who happened to be a serial rapist and child molester. This serial rapist's history dates back to 1983 in Texas where he was known as the "Ski Mask Rapist" as that was all Smith wore when he attacked his victims.  Instead of jail time, Smith was given ten years probation and  chemical castration with intense supervision.    In 1987 the first of the "Bandanna Bandit"  cases were reported with  at least 86 identical cases over the next eleven years.  This perverted deviant's sexual history probably accounts for hundreds of victims who have never come forward.  In 1999, after being indicted on four charges of sexually assaulting a 5 year-old girl, Joseph Frank Smith was sentenced to 20 years for burglary and given a life sentence without the possibility of parole. It took twenty-five years to give this serial rapist the sentence he deserved.

 

 

Stanley and Phyllis Rosenbluth, Arlington

Son, Richard Rosenbluth, 40 was shot twice in the head and his wife, Becky, 35, was shot four times in the head,  in their home, Thanksgiving, November 29, 1993. The killers, Mark Arlo Sheppard and Andre Graham,  were on parole at the time of the murders.  It is believed that Richard & Becky owed Sheppard money for drugs. Sheppard and Graham were arrested 72 hours later and tried separately in 1994 with appeals through 1999.  Sheppard was sentenced to life with a fine not to exceed $100,0000.  Then he was sentenced to death for a previous murder after forensic evidence from Richard & Becky's murder trial was able to be used to convict him.  The gun used in the Rosenbluth's murders tied him to the former unsolved murder.  Andre Graham was sentenced to death, May 1994.  Both were executed in 1999.

 

 

Tony and Carol Sievers, Newport News

Daughter, Hope, 22, was raped, stabbed fifteen times, her throat was cut and she was left to bleed to death  July 11, 1994. Her killer was Shermaine Ali Johnson, 16, considered to be a serial rapist and killer who had a record since he was ten years-old.  Johnson gained access to Hope's apartment when he requested a glass of water.  Using knives from Hope's kitchen, he stabbed Hope and cut her throat.   Her toddler was asleep in a nearby room at the time of her murder.  When Hope had not shown up for work as a television producer at the local NBC TV station, two employees went to her home and found the police already there.  The suspect was found through a random DNA search two years later as he had murdered and raped an elderly women in New Jersey.   Johnson was already in custody for two rapes and an attempted murder.  July 1997:  Tried and convicted, sentenced to death by lethal injection.  After more appeals and another trial in 2002, a re-sentencing phase occurred. His death sentence was upheld.  Johnson has been on death row since February 1999.


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