Commonwealth v. Roy Clairmont Burkett Jr.; Sentence Reduced by Judge, Twice Convicted Drug Dealer Gets Best of Both Worlds

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Harvey L. Bryant, Commonwealth’s Attorney for the City of Virginia Beach, announced today that Roy Clairmont Burkett Jr., 30 years old, previously residing in the 900 Block of Campion Court, Virginia Beach, Virginia, was formally sentenced by Circuit Court Judge A. Bonwill Shockley.  On September 22, 2010, a jury found Burkett guilty of Possession with Intent to Distribute Five (5) or more pounds of Marijuana, Conspiracy to Possess with the Intent to Distribute Marijuana, and Transporting into the Commonwealth five (5) or more pounds of Marijuana. That jury recommended Burkett serve a sentence of 15 years in the Virginia Department of Corrections.  Today he additionally pled guilty to Possession of a Firearm by a Non-violent Convicted Felon. Judge Shockley, who presided over the jury trial, reduced Burkett’s total sentence for all four felonies to five (5) years in the Department of Corrections.  The legislature set the punishment for felons in possession of a firearm at two years, which is to run consecutively. 

“This defendant asked to be tried by a jury, knowing the minimum sentence he could receive from them was 15 years,” Bryant said.  “The jury’s sentence was the minimum our legislature set for each charge.  The judge reduced that minimum by more than two-thirds for a defendant who has been convicted of drug dealing once before.  I wonder what Mr. Burkett has learned from this?  In effect, his 15 year jury sentence was reduced to three years.”

The Commonwealth’s evidence proved that on July 16, 2009, the Virginia Beach Police Department was notified by UPS of a suspicious package. K-9 detectives received an alert to the package by a drug detection dog. A search warrant was executed on the box and revealed twelve (12) pounds of marijuana. The next morning, detectives delivered the package and arrested a co-conspirator, Jeremy Cuffee when he attempted to retrieve it. Cuffee implicated Burkett in a marijuana distribution conspiracy. Detectives were able to conduct a traffic stop on Burkett’s vehicle after observing him drive by the address multiple times. Burkett admitted to driving to Cuffee’s to buy a small quantity of marijuana. Upon further questioning, Burkett consented to a search of his residence. Inside his residence, detectives found three additional parcel boxes, all addressed to the same address as the box containing marijuana and a firearm. When confronted with this, Burkett admitted his role in a marijuana distribution enterprise that engaged in transporting marijuana from California into the Commonwealth.  He further stated that he was holding the firearm for another individual involved with the distribution of marijuana. 

Burkett has a prior conviction for Possession with Intent to Distribute Marijuana in the Virginia Beach Circuit Court.

 

Associate Commonwealth's Attorney Scott C. Alleman and Senior Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney Joseph A. DiNonno prosecuted the case. Please call Macie Pridgen if additional information is desired.​

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