Commonwealth v. Cheari A. Edwards; Double Murder of Brothers at Rally’s Draws 47 Years in Prison

Monday, November 18, 2013

Harvey L. Bryant, Commonwealth’s Attorney for the City of Virginia Beach, announced today that, Cheari A. Edwards, age 20, formerly of the 600 block of Rivers Reach in Virginia Beach, Virginia, was sentenced by Circuit Court Judge Frederick B. Lowe for charges of First Degree Murder (2 counts), Robbery, Conspiracy, and Use of a Firearm (3 counts).  Judge Lowe sentenced Edwards to 118 years in prison with 71 years suspended leaving 47 years to serve.     On July 29, 2013, Edwards entered a guilty plea with an agreement that her sentence would not exceed the high end of the Virginia State Sentencing Guidelines, which is 47 years and two (2) months.  


Had this matter gone to trial, the Commonwealth’s evidence would have proved that on the evening of January 7, 2013, Deandre Leon Dunnaway, Cheari Edwards, and the victim, Alphonso White, were working at Rally’s on Lynnhaven Parkway in Virginia Beach.  White was the evening manager.  Dunnaway and Edwards decided prior to going to work that night that they would rob White of the money earned at Rally’s that evening.  As planned, at the end of the evening shift, Mr. White was in the manager’s office counting money.  Dunnaway shot Mr. White, who died almost immediately.  During the murder, Mr. White’s brother, Michael Johnson, came into Rally’s.  Dunnaway shot Mr. Johnson within seconds of shooting Mr. White.  Johnson also died immediately. Cheari Edwards collected the money Mr. White had been counting, which totaled about $1,100.


Detectives with the Virginia Beach Police Department began an investigation and developed Dunnaway and Edwards as suspects. Bloody money was found in the bedroom they shared. DNA analysis proved that the blood on the money was Alphonso White’s.  Dunnaway admitted to police that since he did not plan to wear a mask during the robbery, he would have to kill White in order to avoid being caught by police. 


On July 29, 2013, Dunnaway pled guilty to Capital Murder (2 counts), Robbery, Conspiracy, and Use of a Firearm (3 counts).  He is serving two (2) terms of Life Imprisonment without Parole, and Life Imprisonment plus 23 years in prison.  These are the maximum sentences for the charges of Robbery, Conspiracy, and Use of a Firearm (3 counts).


The case was prosecuted by Commonwealth’s Attorney Harvey L. Bryant, Chief Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney Colin D. Stolle, and Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney Scott M. Lang.  Please contact Macie Pridgen if additional information is desired.