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Virginian who killed man over an ounce of stolen weed faces life in prison

Dec 20, 2021 | Media Partners, The GrowthOp

This post is presented by our media partner The Growth Op
View the original article here.

Jury convicts drug trafficker after he tried to convince his girlfriend to help him cover up the crime.

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A 20-year-old man in Virginia has been convicted of murder following an incident three years ago in which he fatally shot another man who had earlier robbed the accused of an ounce (28 grams) of cannabis.

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The man was convicted late last week by a federal jury of the murder and for his bid to cover up the crime by trying to convince a witness, his girlfriend, to lie for him, reports the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Eastern District of Virginia.

Specifically, he was convicted of murder by firearm in relation to drug trafficking, possession with intent to distribute marijuana and witness tampering. He will be sentenced on June 29, 2022, and faces a maximum term of life in prison.

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The conviction follows an incident on Oct. 25, 2019. The victim had arranged for two associates to buy marijuana from the accused at his home, but the true intent was to rob the dealer who was reported to carry firearms for protection.

Upon showing up at the dealer’s home in Alexandria, Vir., one of the associates took the weed and brought it back to the now deceased.

That precipitated the dealer’s plan to retaliate. Armed, he again met with the two associates and then travelled to the apartment of the victim, who was unarmed.

When the accused saw the victim sitting on the staircase outside of his apartment, the 20-year-old opened fire and struck the victim in both the right arm and the top of his head. The latter wound proved fatal.

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After being arrested in February 2020, the accused “wrote a letter to his girlfriend instructing her to lie about the events that occurred on the night of the murder and to influence others to lie about the incident to law enforcement,” notes the attorney’s office statement.

Although the 20-year-old could serve up to life in prison, the office reports that “actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties.” The actual term will be determined by a federal judge who will weigh all factors and consider U.S. sentencing guidelines and other statutory factors.

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Recreational cannabis became legal in Virginia on July 1, 2021. Those 21 years and older can possess less than an ounce (28 grams) of weed, according to Cook Attorneys.

While the maximum penalties for possessing less than a pound of marijuana, namely one to 15 ounces (425 grams) is only a US$25 ($32) fine, having more than one pound (454 grams) can result in one to 10 years in jail and as much as US$250,000 ($322,500) in fines, Cook Attorneys reports.

The shooting hardly represents the first time using cannabis has been linked to a deadly incident.

Just this month in Ohio, a 65-year-old homeowner was convicted of killing two 17-year-olds who had been smoking weed inside a vehicle parked in his garage, ABC News cites Associated Press as reporting. The man is set to be sentenced for murder and felonious assault this month in connection with the deadly 2019 shooting.

And last June, the Michigan Court of Appeals affirmed the convictions of two men now serving life in prison after killing a man for US$125 ($161) worth of marijuana during a drug deal gone bad, according to MLive.

Here at home, a security guard at an illegal cannabis dispensary in Toronto was killed after being shot outside the store during a bungled robbery on Oct. 2, 2018, just days before recreational cannabis became legal in Canada, per CityNews.

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