Cumbo guilty of first-degree murder

Published 3:38 pm Thursday, February 9, 2012


COURTLAND—After jurors convicted Shahon Cumbo of murder and recommended he serve 36 years in prison, Cumbo apologized to them for consuming their time.

“I really didn’t have anything to do with this,” the Franklin man told the six-man, six-woman jury, which after deliberating for 2½ hours found Cumbo guilty for the Oct. 7, 2010, shooting death of Darrin Lee.

“I want to apologize to the jury for taking your time,” the 23-year-old said before his three-day first-degree trial in Southampton County Circuit Court came to an end.

Cumbo also apologized to Lee’s family.

“I’m sorry you all had to go through this,” he said.

Cumbo was one of six men arrested after the kidnapping of Lee from Man Market in Franklin, which Commonwealth’s Attorney Eric Cooke claims Cumbo helped plan.

The men forced Lee into his Lexus and drove to his home at Southampton Meadows Trailer Park to rob him, Cooke said.

Lee was shot in the back of the head by Rasheed Brown, 22, of Franklin, Cooke said during the trial. Brown’s trial begins on March 6.

Cooke acknowledged Cumbo was not the shooter, but was responsible because he participated in the crime.

Ernest Jones, 23, of Portsmouth and Bruce Boone, 19, of Suffolk—who pleaded guilty to second-degree murder to avoid life in prison—testified to Cumbo’s involvement during the trial.

Cumbo admitted to being at Man Market, but said he was not at the scene of the shooting.

Rebecca Colaw, Cumbo’s attorney, asked the jury to consider her client’s minimal role before recommending a sentence.

“If he had any role at all, it was in the beginning,” Colaw told jurors.

Lee’s mother, Porthia Douglas, said justice had been served.

“I just hope and pray that other young men take a lesson from what this family is going through and will stop the violence,” Douglas said. “God had the last say in this and justice will be served.”

Lafeisha Scott, Cumbo’s first cousin, said her heart goes out to Lee’s family, but she feels the verdict was unfair. She added that Cooke did not tell the jury the truth when building his case against Cumbo and that’s why he was found guilty.

“They had no evidence to convict him,” Scott said.

Cumbo will be formally sentenced on Thursday, May 24.

Others facing trials are Darrin Robinson, 22, of Suffolk, and Quadrick Ashburn, 21, of Courtland.