Commonwealth v. Nicholas Isaiah Cates; Juvenile Involved in Two Murders in Two Days Sentenced to Serve 50 Years in Prison

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Colin D. Stolle, Commonwealth's Attorney for the city of Virginia Beach, announced that Nicholas Isaiah Cates, 18 years old, formerly of the 3500 block of Light Horse Loop in Virginia Beach, Virginia, was sentenced today by Circuit Court Judge James C. Lewis for First Degree Murder, Use of a Firearm, and Accessory After the Fact- Homicide.   Judge Lewis sentenced Cates to 100 years in prison with 50 years suspended leaving 50 years to serve.

Cates pled guilty on July 17, 2017.  Had this matter gone to trial, the Commonwealth's evidence would have proven that on December 2, 2016, and December 4, 2016, Nicholas Cates played a role in the murder of two citizens in the City of Virginia Beach.  On December 2, Cates and another juvenile left Cates' job at Taco Bell during his break.  The two drove around a nearby neighborhood in Cates' Hyundai with Cates driving.  They ultimately stopped in the 1300 block of Hawk Avenue in the Cardinal Estates neighborhood.  The juvenile told Cates to stop the car when he saw Zacarias Aguilar-Ayala sitting in a truck.  The juvenile left Cates' vehicle with Cates' gun and shot Aguilar-Ayala several times, killing him instantly.  Cates and the juvenile went back to Taco Bell and Cates continued working his shift.

On December 4, Cates and another co-conspirator, Maurice Boney, left Cates' home in the middle of the night to "take a life."  They drove around in Cates' Hyundai until they saw Christine Bender smoking a cigarette in front of her house on Campion Court.  Cates said, "She's the one," to Boney.  Cates asked Bender to use her lighter.  She let him use the lighter, and he gave it back to her.  As she turned to walk back to her house, Cates shot Bender several times using a gun Boney gave to him.  Cates and Boney went back to Cates' house and woke up a friend to tell him what they had done.  Cates also told this same friend about the murder of Aguiliar-Ayala. 

Police investigated both crimes and developed Cates as a suspect.  During an interview with homicide detectives on December 10, 2016, Cates made several incriminating statements.  Boney confessed to his involvement in the murder of Christine Bender, and told police where he threw the gun after dismantling it.  

Cates was a juvenile at the time of the offense, but his case was certified to the Circuit Court for trial as an adult due to the seriousness of the crimes.  Boney pled guilty to his role in Bender's murder and is scheduled to be sentenced on December 2, 2017.  The juvenile co-defendant's case was also certified to the Circuit Court and is set for a motions hearing on October 31, 2017. 

Commonwealth's Attorney Colin D. Stolle, Deputy Commonwealth's Attorney Paul J. Powers, and Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney Katharine D. Aicher prosecuted this case. Please contact Macie Allen if additional information is desired.