Newsoms man pleads innocent to murder

Published 8:37 am Friday, June 25, 2010

COURTLAND—A Newsoms man pleaded not guilty Thursday to shooting a man to death in Courtland on March 3, 2009.

Troy Mayfield, 29, is charged with first-degree murder, which means the killing of Brandon Keith Turner at Oak Trail apartment complex was premeditated. Mayfield is also charged with using a firearm in commission of murder.

An investigation and statements from witnesses led to Mayfield’s arrest. Commonwealth Attorney Eric A. Cooke declined to comment further.

Mayfield is being held in Newport News City Jail, and his trial will begin Sept. 28. Mayfield is represented by attorney Mike Rosenberg.

Turner was shot from point-blank range at the same apartment complex in 2008.

Eric Parker of Franklin was convicted of that shooting.

Turner was to be a witness for the prosecution in the trial of Darris Lamont Thomas, the man accused in the August 6, 2007, shooting death of 21-year-old Harley Bethea.

Thomas pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter and use of a firearm by a felon. He was originally charged with first-degree murder.

Bethea was on his way home from the store when he was struck in the chest by a bullet fired from a large-caliber handgun. He died about 100 feet from his front door.

In court, Cooke said Thomas was a Franklin gang leader, and that on the night of the shooting Thomas had argued and fought with two other men. Although Bethea was described as an unintended target, Cooke said Thomas allegedly said in jail that Bethea “was a casualty of war” and “should not have been in the way.”