Harvey L. Bryant, Commonwealth’s Attorney for the City of Virginia Beach, announced today that Eric Levon Davis Jr., 23 years old, formerly of W. Pembroke Avenue in Hampton, Virginia, was found guilty by a jury of Involuntary Manslaughter and Use of a Firearm. The jury recommended a sentence of ten (10) years in prison, out of a 13-year maximum sentence. Circuit Court Judge H. Thomas Padrick Jr., who presided over the four-day trial, will formally sentence Davis on April 23, 2013.
The Commonwealth’s evidence proved that on July 22, 2011, Eric Levon Davis Jr. and two of his friends met at the Virginia Beach oceanfront for a night out. The victim, 22-year-old Cordaro Simpkins, and a group of his friends were out in the same area celebrating a friend’s birthday. Davis and Simpkins did not know each other. As Simpkins and his friends walked to their car just after midnight, one of the men with Davis approached Simpkins’ group and made rude comments. A fist fight broke out between the two groups, although Eric Davis was not involved in the fight. Davis pulled out a handgun and fired multiple shots into the air, then fired one shot into the crowd as he ran away. The last shot struck Cordaro Simpkins in the chest, killing him. Davis and his friends fled the area, but left a cell phone behind, which was later traced back to Davis’ relative.
Detectives with the Virginia Beach Police Department began an investigation and developed Eric Davis as a suspect. During an interview with investigators, Davis admitted shooting into the air and at the crowd. He claimed he was trying to disperse the crowd, and that Cordaro Simpkins was not an intended target.
“Cordaro Simpkins’ death was tragic and unnecessary,” Bryant said. “As opposed to a drive-by shooting, this was a walk-off shooting.”
The case was prosecuted by Associate Commonwealth’s Attorney Paul J. Powers and Senior Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Elizabeth M. Bradley. Please contact Macie Pridgen if additional information is desired.