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Spotsy teen gets 30 years for killing another teen

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Steven Ray Foster Jr. will be 46 years old when he is expected to be released from prison in 2044.

The 16-year-old was sentenced Wednesday to life in prison with all but 30 years suspended in Spotsylvania County Circuit Court.

Foster was one of two county teens charged with first-degree murder in the shooting death of Jayson Marquis Syrkes, 18, in the Sylvania Heights area in December.

Foster also received a 20-year suspended sentence for statutory burglary.

He accepted a plea agreement in June and pleaded guilty to the two charges. Three other charges were dropped.

Because of his age, he will spend the first two years of his sentence in a juvenile facility. When he turns 18, he will be transferred to a state Department of Corrections prison.

According to facts listed in his plea agreement, 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 a day before the shooting because the officer’s neighbors had seen him knocking on doors there, the agreement said.

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

According to the agreement, 17-year-old Douglas “Dougie” 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 killing 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 of killing Syrkes and that Hayes knew about the whole plan.

Hayes pleaded guilty 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.

Foster was also ordered to be on indefinite probation when released and have no contact with the Syrkes family.

Syrkes wrote on his Facebook page late last year that he was excited about becoming a first-time dad. His girlfriend had a baby boy in April and named him after his father.

Portsia Smith: 540/374-5419