Commonwealth v. James Ralph Woods; Murder of Girlfriend Draws 29-Year Sentence

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Harvey L. Bryant, Commonwealth’s Attorney for the City of Virginia Beach, announced today that James Ralph Woods, 51 years old, previously residing in the 4400 block of Delco Road in Virginia Beach, Virginia was sentenced by Circuit Court Judge Stephen C. Mahan on charges of Second Degree Murder and Use of a Firearm.   Judge Mahan sentenced Woods to 43 years in the Department of Corrections with 14 years suspended, leaving Woods 29 years to serve.  Woods pled guilty on July 19, 2011.   

Had this matter gone to trial, the Commonwealth’s evidence would have proved that on November 22, 2010, James Ralph Woods and his girlfriend, Barbara Ann Nave Allen, had been living together at the Red Carpet Inn on Diamond Springs Road in the City of Virginia Beach.  That day, Allen expressed to Woods that she wanted to end their relationship.  Shortly after midnight, Woods called 911 and reported that he had just shot and killed his girlfriend.  When officers arrived on scene, Woods told them, “Hey guys, I’m the one you’re looking for.  I’m the one who called. I just shot and killed my girlfriend.” He pointed to the room where the police could find the deceased victim and his shotgun. He also told a forensic technician who was taking photographs, “I pulled the trigger. I shot her.” The track of the gunshot wound to her torso, as well as the track of the shot through the pillows, mattress and wall, show that the victim was reclined on the bed in the hotel room at the time she was killed by Woods.


Woods has an extensive criminal record of misdemeanor convictions, including Possession of Marijuana, Providing a False Report to Police, two (2) counts of Assault and Battery of a Family Member, Contempt of Court, two (2) counts of Driving Under the Influence (DUI), DUI – 2nd within 5-10 Years, Petit Larceny, Trespassing, Disorderly Conduct, Destruction of Property, Open Container, DUI-Refusal of Blood or Breath Test, Carrying a Concealed Weapon, and Providing False Identification to Law Enforcement.


Associate Commonwealth’s Attorney Wendy R. Alexander and Senior Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Christopher M. Baker prosecuted the case.  Please call Macie Pridgen if additional information is desired.​