Commonwealth v. Donta Jarma Brown; Guilty Plea and 31-Year Sentence for Killing of Grandparents

Monday, December 10, 2012

Harvey L. Bryant, Commonwealth’s Attorney for the City of Virginia Beach, announced today that Donta Jarma Brown 37 years old, who previously resided in the 3900 block of Colonial Parkway in Virginia Beach, Virginia, pled guilty and was sentenced today by Circuit Court Judge Edward W. Hanson Jr. for two (2) counts of Second Degree Murder.  Judge Hanson accepted the plea agreement and sentenced Brown to 50 years in prison, with 18 years and four (4) months suspended, leaving 31 years and eight (8) months to serve. 


Had this matter gone to trial, the Commonwealth’s evidence would have proved that in July, 2011, Donta Jarma Brown lived with his grandparents, Mary and Eugene McNeely, in the City of Virginia Beach.  On July 5, 2011, family members became concerned for the McNeely’s well-being after phone calls and knocks at the door went unanswered.  A family member went to the home and discovered Mrs. McNeely’s lifeless body on the floor.  Police came to the home, and Mr. and Mrs. McNeely were pronounced dead.  The medical examiner determined that both died from blunt force trauma to the head and torso, and from being choked and strangled. 


Investigation led to Donta Brown as a suspect in the killings.  Brown was seen acting erratically by a neighbor and family members in the days leading up to the killings.  On July 5, 2011, he made a phone call to a family member and stated that he was leaving town.  Testing revealed that Brown’s DNA was mixed in with the victims’ blood at the scene and under the fingernails of his grandmother.  Brown had large scratches on his back and arms when he was arrested just days after the murders.


Brown has previous convictions for Possession w/intent to Distribute Schedule I or II Drugs (Accommodation) and Violation of Probation.


The case was prosecuted by Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney Scott M. Lang and Senior Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Elizabeth M. Bradley.  Please contact Macie Pridgen if additional information is desired.​