Commonwealth v. Kevin Michael Custer; Killing of 6-Week-Old Baby Draws 20 Years to Serve

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Harvey L. Bryant, Commonwealth’s Attorney for the City of Virginia Beach, announced today that Kevin Michael Custer, 33 years old, previously residing in the 600 block of Spooner Road in Virginia Beach, pled guilty today to Second Degree Murder and Child Abuse.  This plea and plea agreement were accepted by Circuit Court Judge Les L. Lilley, and Custer was formally sentenced to forty (40) years in prison with twenty (20) years suspended, leaving twenty (20) years to serve. Custer must remain on good behavior for thirty (30) years after his release, will be on supervised probation for an indeterminate period of time, and may have no unsupervised contact with children under the age of ten (10) while on supervised probation. He has been in custody since his arrest in October, 2010.

The Commonwealth’s evidence proved that on October 16, 2010, Kevin Michael Custer picked up 6-week-old Ryan Brennan from his mother.  Custer was not the baby’s father, but was an active participant in the baby’s life. Custer took Ryan to a friend’s house to watch a UFC fight then to a neighbor’s home for a bonfire. Throughout the night, friends and neighbors saw Ryan acting as a normal baby and with no visible injuries to his face. In the early morning hours of October 17, 2010, Ryan was crying and Custer was unable to quiet him. In an attempt to quiet him, Custer shook him, was rough changing him, and threw him down onto the bed where he hit his head on a car seat. Ryan continued to cry. Custer then put a pillow over Ryan’s body and head. Ryan began bleeding from the mouth, hyperventilating and eventually quieted. Custer went to sleep with Ryan in the bed next to him. When Custer woke up the next morning, Ryan was not breathing. He took Ryan to the hospital, and Ryan was pronounced dead.  Ryan died as a result of blunt force head injuries and smothering.

In an interview with police, Custer admitted that he was frustrated that Ryan wouldn’t stop crying so he was rough with him.  Custer admitted to shaking the baby, putting a pillow over his head, and dropping him onto the bed. He stated that when he went to sleep at 4:30 a.m., Ryan laid there limp but still breathing. When he woke up at 8:00 a.m. Ryan was not breathing and he took him the hospital.


Custer’s criminal record includes convictions for Credit Card Theft and Credit Card Fraud.


The case was prosecuted by Senior Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Kristin L. Paulding and Senior Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Kari A. Kopnicky.  Please contact Macie Pridgen if additional information is desired.