Harvey L. Bryant, Commonwealth’s Attorney for the City of Virginia Beach, announced that Che Ernest Hazell and Christy Ronsha Lamour, both 31 years old and previously residing in the 600 block of Arthur Avenue in Virginia Beach, Virginia, were sentenced today by Circuit Court Judge Les L. Lilley for charges of Second Degree Murder, Child Abuse, and Child Endangerment. Judge Lilley sentenced Hazell to an active sentence of 40 years, suspending only 2, and leaving 38 years to serve. Lamour was sentenced to 55 years in prison with 20 suspended leaving 35 to serve. Both were found guilty on May 1, 2012, after a joint trial in Circuit Court. The active sentences handed down to both Hazell and Lamour exceeded the 23 year high end of the sentencing guidelines.
The Commonwealth’s evidence proved that on April 5, 2011, Christy Ronsha Lamour brought her 5-year-old son, Christian Lamour, to Portsmouth Naval Hospital. Christian was not breathing when he arrived at the hospital, and his body was cold and limp. He had severe bruising, a kidney laceration, and a perforated small bowel, none of which are fatal if treated. He was pronounced deceased at the hospital. An autopsy revealed the cause of death was a perforated bowel caused by blunt force trauma.
Detectives with the Virginia Beach Police Department began investigating Christian’s death. Through the investigation, they learned that Christy Lamour’s live-in boyfriend, Che Ernest Hazell, often punched Christian, sat on him, and spanked him. Christy Lamour observed the abuse by Hazell. Lamour also spanked and beat Christian with a belt. On the day before his death, another child in the home described how Hazell punched Christian in the stomach, and Christian doubling over in pain. In the hours leading up to his death, Christian was vomiting and crying constantly. Lamour admitted to detectives that Christian was found crying in the fetal position in an empty bathtub in the middle of the night, calling for her, and crying under his bunk-bed. Neither Christy Lamour nor Che Hazell sought medical treatment for Christian during the nineteen hours he suffered before his death. The morning after his initial bowel injury, Lamour went to work. Hazell called her to return because Christian’s belly was so swollen. She returned home, changed her clothes, and drove to Portsmouth Naval Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead. Expert physicians testified that had he been seen by a doctor sooner, the injury to his bowel was reparable and he would be alive.
Judge Leslie L. Lilly, before pronouncing his sentence, recounted the number of injuries to the child which included a “shoulder fracture, an elbow fracture, and multiple contusions to the child’s head, back, abdomen and legs, leaving bruising down to the muscle.” In addition, he reminded the defendants that this child was “systematically beaten to death.” Judge Lilly stated that “the terror this child suffered is immeasurable.”
Associate Commonwealth’s Attorneys Katherine E. Orsini and Kari A. Kopnicky prosecuted the case. Please contact Macie Pridgen if additional information is desired.