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City man gets 25 years in cousin’s shooting death


A Fredericksburg man who shot his cousin to death during a party was ordered Wednesday to serve 25 years in prison.

Tyrone Tomeka Johnson, 36, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and possessing a firearm as a violent felon in Fredericksburg Circuit Court.

He was sentenced to a total of 45 years in prison with 20 years suspended.

Johnson killed 35-year-old Nathaniel Dywayne Henderson early April 7 during a gathering at Henderson’s residence in the Central Park Townhomes, formerly known as Bragg Hill.

According to City Commonwealth’s Attorney LaBravia Jenkins, Johnson, Henderson and between eight to 10 others were at the home that morning engaging in drinking and other activities.

At some point, Johnson and others became annoyed with a friend of Henderson’s who was doing such things and turning off lights, throwing paper and eating other people’s snacks.

Johnson eventually went to Henderson and told his cousin to send the man away. Henderson was upset by the request and he and Johnson got into a fight.

The scuffle re-started a couple of times and Henderson eventually told everyone to leave. He was then shot twice, once in the head and once in the neck.

All of the visitors left in a hurry at that point and no one called for help. Henderson’s body was discovered later in the morning when a friend who’d been asked to check on him found him dead.

Johnson’s attorney, Andy Cornick, said that if the case had gone to trial Johnson would have testified that he never intended to shoot Henderson.

The defense version is that Henderson was coming at Johnson and the defendant “just reacted to what was going on.”

Johnson threw the gun into the Rappahannock River, but later told police where he’d thrown it. Divers found the gun in the area of the City Dock.

Johnson, who had been charged with first-degree murder, initially told police that he left the home prior to the shooting and wasn’t involved.

Jenkins said most of the people in the home that morning were related.

Keith Epps: 540/374-5404