Commonwealth v. James Clifton Pree Jr; 158 Year Sentence for Carjacking, Robbery of Woman from Parking Lot

Monday, July 30, 2018

Colin D. Stolle, Commonwealth's Attorney for the city of Virginia Beach, announced today that James Clifton Pree Jr., 49 years old, of the 4700 block of Haygood Road in Virginia Beach, Virginia, was sentenced for charges of Robbery, Carjacking, Abduction, and Use of a Firearm (2 counts).  Circuit Court Judge James C. Lewis sentenced Pree to 158 years in prison with 123 years suspended, leaving 35 years to serve. 

Pree pled guilty on January 3, 2018. Had this matter gone to trial, the Commonwealth's evidence would have proven that on May 4, 2014, James Clifton Pree Jr. approached a young woman who was walking to her parked car in a shopping center on Holland Road.  He immediately pushed her into the car and told her not to fight because he had a gun and would shoot her.  She struggled against Pree until she was forced into the passenger seat.  Pree ripped her shirt, put her in a headlock, punched her repeatedly in the face and head, and strangled her to the point of unconsciousness. She woke up with Pree driving her car on S. Plaza Trail.  He drove behind an office park and told her he needed money.  He then pulled her credit card and driver's license out of her wallet.  Pree demanded that the victim give him directions to her bank to withdraw money from the ATM. 

When they arrived at Navy Federal Credit Union, he told her to "look presentable" because there was blood on her shirt and there would be a camera at the ATM.  He demanded $500 but she was only able to withdraw $200.  Pree let her get back into the driver's seat but demanded she drive someplace where he could leave without being caught. On the way, Pree and the victim talked about religion and he cried because he had hurt her.  When they ultimately stopped in a secluded parking lot, Pree tied her up with items from an emergency kit in her trunk.  He took the victim's t-shirt, which he had used to wipe his face, and wiped down things he had touched in the car. He then fled with her t-shirt and a pair of gloves he wore during the incident.  The victim was able to free herself and call for help.

The victim provided a thorough description of her attacker to police.  Pree was developed as a suspect and arrested on May 8, 2014.  His DNA was found inside the victim's car. 

Pree has an extensive criminal record dating back to 1990.  He has prior convictions for Robbery (2 counts), Attempted Robbery, Burglary, Attempted Burglary, Grand Larceny, Destruction of Property, Assault, Public Intoxication, Open Container, Concealment, as well as multiple traffic infractions and violations of probation. 

Deputy Commonwealth's Attorney Sara R. Chandler and Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney Brandon C. Emery prosecuted this case. Please contact Macie Allen if additional information is desired.