Commonwealth v. Joseph Sonny Barber; Armed Robbery while on Probation Draws 16 Years in Prison

Monday, October 22, 2012

Harvey L. Bryant, Commonwealth’s Attorney for the City of Virginia Beach, announced today that Joseph Sonny Barber, 22 years old, who previously resided in the 2200 block of Bayberry Street in Virginia Beach, Virginia, was sentenced today by Circuit Court Judge Jerome James for Armed Robbery, Malicious Wounding, Use of a Firearm, and Wearing a Mask in Public.  Judge James sentenced Barber to 24 years in prison with 11 years suspended, leaving 13 years to serve.


At the time that Barber committed these offenses, he was on court-ordered “good behavior” for Burglary, Petit Larceny (2 counts) and Destruction of Property (2 counts) from a July 2010 sentencing.  These new criminal convictions were violations of his “good behavior” period, and resulted in the Court revoking prison time that was previously suspended. Therefore, Judge James today sentenced Barber to an additional three (3) years in prison for a Violation of Probation.  His total sentence today is 16 years in prison.


Barber pled guilty on June 12, 2012.  Had this matter gone to trial, the Commonwealth’s evidence would have proved that on November 6, 2011, Joseph Sonny Barber approached a juvenile walking through a neighborhood near First Landing State Park.  Barber wore a hat and covered his face with a bandana.  He pointed a gun at the juvenile, called him by name, and demanded his property.  As the victim backed away, Barber pistol-whipped him and stole about $7.00 before fleeing.  The victim chased after Barber, and a fight broke out.  The victim was knocked to the ground and kicked several times.  Eventually the victim struck Barber in the head with a rock, causing him to bleed.  Barber ran off, and the victim ran to a nearby friend’s house to call 911.


During the investigation, police found a bloody bandana and jacket in Barber’s backyard. A bloody hat and parts of an airsoft pistol were found near the scene of the robbery. During an interview with investigators, Barber admitted to the robbery but said it was a joke.


Barber has adjudications as a juvenile for Assault and Battery of a Family Member, Destruction of Property, Concealed Weapon, Possession of Marijuana, Assault (2 counts), Disorderly Conduct (2 counts), Burglary, and Contempt of Court.  He has additional convictions as an adult for Burglary, Petit Larceny (2 counts), and Destruction of Property (2 counts).


The case was prosecuted by Associate Commonwealth’s Attorney Julie L. Fink.  Please contact Macie Pridgen if additional information is desired.​