Commonwealth v. Ryan Patrick Brown; Guilty Plea to Homicide and Other Charges in December 2012 Crime Spree

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Harvey L. Bryant, Commonwealth’s Attorney for the City of Virginia Beach, announced that Ryan Patrick Brown, 36 years old, formerly of the 1900 block of Charla Lee Lane in Virginia Beach, Virginia, pled guilty before Circuit Court Judge Stephen C. Mahan to charges of Second Degree Murder, Aggravated Malicious Wounding, Malicious Wounding, Robbery, Grand Larceny, and four (4) counts of Use of a Firearm. Brown was set to begin his third day of a lengthy jury trial when he entered his guilty plea.  A presentence report was ordered, and Judge Mahan will formally sentence Brown on February 4, 2014.


The Commonwealth’s evidence proved that between December 4 and 15, 2012, Ryan Patrick Brown committed three separate criminal acts in the city of Virginia Beach.  First, at about 2:00 a.m. on December 4, 2012, Brown entered the Chanello’s Pizza on Aragona Boulevard wearing a large coat, hat with ear flaps, and sunglasses.  Three people were inside the restaurant: a shift manager, a pizza delivery driver, and the manager’s girlfriend. Brown began to make a false complaint to the manager, then walked behind the counter, drew a pistol from underneath his coat, and shot the pizza delivery driver in the head.  The victim and female ran out the back door and called 911. 


Brown then pointed his gun at the shift manager, who in turn, grabbed for Brown’s gun. As he did this, Brown shot him in the left hip.  The two fell to the ground and continued to struggle for control of the weapon.  Brown fired additional shots, accidentally hitting himself in the right lower leg.  When Brown ran out of ammunition in the pistol, he reached for a second firearm that had been concealed in his waistband.  The manager began to plead for his life.  He offered Brown all of the money in the register as well as some of his own money. Brown fled the store with at least $300.


Video surveillance of the parking lot at the Sea Shell Motel showed Brown leaving shortly before the robbery at the Chanello’s and returning afterward.  Brown is seen in the video limping up the stairs on his right leg upon his return. Both the manager and delivery driver were treated at hospitals that night and survived their injuries.  Brown was linked to this crime scene through DNA, ballistic evidence, and witness identification.


On December 8, 2012, Brown was driving on Virginia Beach Boulevard at approximately 4:00 a.m., carrying multiple knives and a pistol on him.  Brown encountered Edward Dale Chapple, who was homeless at the time, near the Virginia Beach Convention Center. Brown stopped his car, got out, and shot Chapple in the back of the head.  Brown then called 911 and reported the incident as a self-defense shooting, stating that Chapple had pulled a knife and tried to rob him.  Brown manipulated the crime scene and cut himself with his own knives in an attempt to corroborate the story.


When officers arrived at the scene they saw Chapple unconscious on the ground with a knife clenched in his right hand and several dollar bills neatly arranged around him.  Chapple was transported to the hospital where he was pronounced dead. Brown was on the ground near Chapple. Brown had superficial scratches on his right hand and a superficial cut over the older gunshot wound on his right lower leg. 


An autopsy performed on Mr. Chapple proved that based on the injury to his brain stem, it would have been physically impossible for him to continue to grip the knife after he died at the scene.  The only possibility would have been that it was placed in his hand after he was shot and died.  Further, testing revealed that there was no blood on the knife in Chapple’s hand, yet Brown’s blood was found on a box cutter knife that officers found on Brown.


On December 15, 2012, Brown went to Superior Pawn and Gun.  When everyone else in the store was distracted, he walked out of the store with a rifle.  The rifle and the optic scope on it were valued at over $2,000.  Video surveillance showed him leaving the store, walking with the rifle into the parking lot, and placing it in the back seat of his car.  He then walked back into the store and pretended nothing was wrong.  When store employees realized the rifle was missing, the store went into a panic.  Brown eventually walked out of the store, got into his car, and backed it up to the rear of the building.  Video surveillance captured him getting out of his car with the rifle and walking back towards the front entrance with it.  He then walked into the store with the rifle and announced that he had found it on the ground in the back of the building.


Investigators from multiple units in the Virgina Beach Police Department worked diligently together to develop Brown as a suspect and apprehend him.


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