Spotsylvania teens to face jury trial in slaying
BY PORTSIA SMITH / THE FREE LANCE–STAR
A two-day trial is set for two Spotsylvania teenagers charged as adults with first-degree murder in the shooting death of another county teen.
Steven Ray Foster Jr., 17, and Douglas “Dougie” Hayes, 15, face a June 30–July 1 jury trial in Spotsylvania Circuit Court, Judge David Beck ruled Monday.
The two are charged with first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit murder, breaking and entering, larceny of a firearm and use of a firearm in the commission of a felony in the Dec. 7 shooting death of 18-year-old Jayson Marquis Syrkes.
Foster was in favor of a jury trial, while Hayes’ attorney argued for a bench trial. Beck ruled that since they are co-defendants, they had to be tried the same way.
The two teens were indicted by a grand jury last week in the death of Syrkes, whose body was found in some woods just behind his home on Mansfield Street off Tidewater Trail.
Both teens entered pleas of not guilty on Monday, but prosecutors said this is common in cases of juveniles.
It is possible that plea agreements could be reached between now and the trial date, prosecutors said.
According to previous testimony from Sheriff’s Office detectives, Foster and Hayes met at Hayes’ home in the River Heights Trailer Park and came up with a plan to shoot Syrkes.
Detective Frank Corona, who interviewed both teens, testified at last month’s preliminary hearing that Foster said Syrkes had told lies about him to Foster’s girlfriend and that Syrkes asked for her screen name on a social networking site. He also told the detective that someone had anonymously posted on the same site, “I’m going to blow up Steven.”
It was unclear in court if Foster or Hayes thought Syrkes posted the message, but Detective Twyla DeMoranville said Foster told her that he had to “get [Syrkes] before he got me.”
Corona said Hayes told him that Foster “just doesn’t like” Syrkes.
Investigators said they found text messages between the teens that day that indicated Foster and Hayes set up a meeting with Syrkes by offering to sell him a stolen Glock 9 mm for $100.
The detectives said when the teens met, Foster showed Syrkes a different gun. They said Foster told them he pulled out the clip, pushed it back in, then pulled the trigger.
Syrkes was struck in the face at close range and was dead by the time police arrived. Police said Syrkes had a $50 bill in his pocket.
According to court testimony, Hayes told police that he wiped down the gun and threw it over a fence near a white shed on Christopher Court.
Officers and tracking dogs searched the area, and Foster and Hayes were both apprehended within an hour of the shooting.
Detective Corona said Foster and Hayes were suspects in some break-ins in the area of the shooting, and that the gun used in the fatal shooting had been stolen from one of the burglarized houses.
Portsia Smith: 540/374-5419