Year in Review: Courts and Crime

Published 10:54 am Tuesday, December 31, 2013

COURTLAND—The past year was not without its share of dramatic criminal activity – and justice – in Western Tidewater, beginning with the conviction of a Courtland man accused of killing his father and stepmother in April 2012.

On Feb. 13, Joseph Charles “Jay” Joyner Jr. was sentenced by an Isle of Wight County Circuit Court judge to four life terms for murdering Joe Joyner Sr., 62, and Sandra Joyner, 58, at their home on Walters Highway in Carrsville.

Joe Joyner had been found shot to death in the woods, and his wife was beaten to death in the home.

Jay Joyner had entered an Alford plea, which means he didn’t admit to the killings, but agreed there was enough evidence for a conviction.

In exchange for the plea, the death penalty originally sought by IOW Commonwealth Attorney Wayne Farmer was dropped.

Money was reportedly the motive for Jay Joyner’s crimes.

In contrast, Charles Bernard Steinert’s crime was evidently one of passion when he murdered his estranged wife, Tammy Jo Steinert, on June 12, 2010. He finally came to trial in the last week of March. The jury deliberated for just 45 minutes before coming back with the unanimous verdict of guilty. Deciding his punishment for the murder and 10 other charges took the panel about two hours. At the sentencing report later in August, Charles Steinert was to receive life plus 83 years.

The Courtland man reportedly went to his wife’s house with a revolver, and first shot her uncle, Joseph Michael Wise, in the stomach. The sliding glass back door was shot out for Steinert to get inside. He chased his wife and two girls into a bedroom, where he shot Tammy Jo. Steinert and the girls were barricaded, but later released before he surrendered.

Law enforcement busted a marijuana growing operation on May 28 in Newsoms; there were 99 plans seized. According to Maj. Gene Drewery, spokesman for the Southampton County Sheriff’s Office, the investigation began in May after the department got tips and used that information to make some buys with a confidential source.

On July 17, two Newsoms men, Kyle Thorpe and Joel Hedgepeth, were arrested in connection with the operation.

An illegal liquor still was also taken during the search. Thorpe, who still awaits arraignment, is charged with two counts of selling and distributing marijuana, conspiring to selling and distributing marijuana, selling drugs within 1,000 feet of a school, possessing a gun with over one pound of marijuana and possessing a distilling apparatus without a license.

Hedgepeth, who pleaded guilty at his trial in September, awaits sentencing Jan. 16. He pleaded guilty to four counts of selling and distributing marijuana and a drug sale on or near school property or a library.

The Isle of Wight County Sheriff’s Office continues to look for a man said to have abducted an 11-year-old Carrollton girl on Oct. 2. The suspect, whose identity remains unknown and is still at large, also reportedly took the child to two different places and sexually assaulted her. He’s believed to have traveled through Suffolk and maybe into northeastern North Carolina before returning her home that same afternoon.

If you have information, please call the Isle of Wight tip line at (757) 365-6290 or email:

If you wish to remain anonymous, you can call the Crime Line at 1-888-LOCKUUP.

Though La’mon Frederick Bradshaw was 17 years old when he helped kill Eric “E.T.” Smith on Nov. 8, 2012, he was tried as an adult and found guilt of second-degree murder on Aug. 7.

Bradshaw, was charged with aiding Sol “Dukey” Damascus Burke in shooting Smith at his mother’s home on Pearl Street in Franklin.

Burke allegedly killed Smith after Smith beat him up in September during an attempted robbery in Southampton County.

Originally, Bradshaw was charged with first-degree murder, but for reasons the jury didn’t share, they reduced it to a second-degree charge. He was also found guilty of the other charges, which were the use of a firearm in the commission of a murder, shooting in public and three counts of shooting at an occupied dwelling.

Bradshaw was sentenced to 26 years on Nov. 12.

Burke, meanwhile, is scheduled for a jury trial on Monday, Feb. 3.

On Dec. 12, Erica Shandrika Bradshaw pleaded not guilty to the charge of having attempted to kill Phillip Everette, to whom she had been a caretaker, on July 1.

Everette, who’s paralyzed from the neck down, told police his double-wide trailer had been burglarized that night.

Further, he had been beaten, and an undisclosed amount of money was stolen. The power and telephone lines had been cut.

Following anonymous tips and interviews, investigators turned their attention to Bradshaw, according to Drewery.

She was charged and arrested soon after the incident.

Bradshaw will have court-appointed counsel, and will be tried by the court when the case goes to trial on Thursday, March 6.

Meanwhile, she’s staying in Western Tidewater Regional Jail without bond.