​Commonwealth v. Earl Lavern Sparks; Twenty Years for Man who Robbed Elderly Woman and Drove her Car to Michigan​

Wednesday, May 09, 2018

Colin D. Stolle, Commonwealth's Attorney for the city of Virginia Beach, announced that Earl Lavern Sparks, 35 years old, formerly of Flint, Michigan, was sentenced today by Circuit Court Judge A. Bonwill Shockley for Carjacking, Robbery, Burglary, and Abduction. Judge Shockley sentenced Sparks to 40 years in prison with 20 years suspended leaving 20 years to serve.  This was well-above the 14-year sentence which was the high-end of the Virginia State Sentencing Guidelines. 

Sparks pled guilty on October 16, 2017.  Had this matter gone to trial, the Commonwealth's evidence would have proven that on the afternoon of May 10, 2017, the victim, a 75-year-old widow, was alone at her home in the Aragona neighborhood of Virginia Beach.  Her front door was open and her screen door was unlocked when she heard a knock at the door.  She did not see anyone at the door, so she locked it. Unbeknownst to the victim, Earl Sparks had already snuck into the home and was hiding inside.  Sparks found a white cord and a steak knife and went upstairs to the victim's room. He threw her to the ground, breaking her shoulder. He then tied her to her bed and unplugged her phone from the wall.

Sparks dumped out the victim's purse, located a debit card, and demanded the PIN number. He called the bank in an attempt to change the PIN number, but was unsuccessful.  Sparks stole her phone, laptop, car keys, debit card, and two televisions.  He drove away in her Toyota RAV4.  Despite her injuries, the victim eventually freed herself and ran to a neighbor's house to call police. 

Police found a neighbor who had a surveillance camera.  Sparks was seen on camera entering the victim's home and later loading stolen items into the victim's car before driving away. Police were familiar with Sparks and knew that he was staying in the same neighborhood as the victim. Four days later, the victim's vehicle was found in Sparks' home town of Flint, Michigan.  Police learned that Sparks sold the car to a friend in Flint in the days following the robbery. They were able to locate Sparks and take him into custody.  Sparks fully confessed to his involvement in the crimes. 

Sparks has a lengthy criminal record dating back to March, 2000.  His prior convictions include Driving without a License (2 counts), Failure to Submit Certificate of Insurance, Assault on Law Enforcement Officer (2 counts), Possession of Marijuana (Attempt), Contempt of Court, False ID to Law Enforcement, Obtaining Money by False Pretenses (3 counts), and multiple convictions for Failure to Appear and Community Diversion: Violation on Misdemeanor. 

Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney Michael D. Defricke prosecuted this case. Please contact Macie Allen if additional information is desired.

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