RSS feed of this blog

Two Spotsylvania teens guilty in slaying

RELATED: See more crime news from the Fredericksburg region

MORE: Read more Spotsylvania County news

Two Spotsylvania County teenagers, charged as adults in the shooting death of another teen, pleaded guilty to felony charges in the slaying this week.

Steven Ray Foster Jr., 15, and Douglas “Dougie” Hayes, 17, were scheduled to have a jury trial Monday, but both accepted last-minute plea agreements in Spotsylvania Circuit Court.

Foster pleaded guilty to first-degree murder and statutory burglary Wednesday. Prosecutors recommended that he serve 30 years of a life sentence.

A judge will decide the sentence on Aug. 27.

Hayes pleaded guilty Friday to conspiracy to commit murder, use of a firearm in the commission of a felony and statutory burglary. He was sentenced to serve 14 years of a 33-year sentence.

A teary-eyed Hayes was consoled by his father before being taken back into custody.

The murder and conspiracy charges stem from the Dec. 7 shooting death of 18-year-old Jayson Marquis Syrkes.

According to facts listed in the plea agreements, the investigation started before the shooting with a report of a stolen gun.

A law enforcement officer reported that his home was broken into on Dec. 1 and six firearms were stolen, along with some loose change. Foster was considered a suspect one day before the shooting because the officer’s neighbors had seen him knocking on doors there, the agreement said.

On Dec. 7, Michael Dunivan called police after he heard a gunshot behind his home on Mansfield Street off Tidewater Trail and saw two males running away toward the River Heights trailer park. Dunivan later learned that it was his grandson who was shot.

According to the agreement, Hayes and Foster arranged to meet with Syrkes to sell him one of the stolen guns, a Glock 9 mm, for $100.

When the teens met, Foster showed Syrkes a different gun. Foster told police 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 the agreement, 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.

The exact motive for the shooting was unclear.

Foster told police he was “going to get [Syrkes] before he get me.”

According to the agreement, Foster told police that he went there with the intention to kill Syrkes and that Hayes knew about the whole plan.

Hayes’ defense attorney, Price Koch, said his client’s level of involvement could be argued, but he was definitely there.

“Even though it’s a regrettable situation all around, we hope that Dougie is able to still have a life and make a change,” he said.

Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorneys Stephanie Fitzgerald and Crystal Montague–Holland prosecuted the case.

Portsia Smith: 540/374-5419