AMHERST — The last of three defendants charged in the October 2016 murder of 41-year-old Troy Tyrone Roberson was sentenced to 23 years in prison Wednesday.
Rodney Andrew Hamlette, 23, of Lynchburg, faced charges of first- degree murder and using a firearm in a felony as the “triggerman” in Roberson’s Oct. 25, 2016 death, according to prosecutors.
Hamlette and his attorney, Kevin Bailey, both signed a plea agreement back in late September 2017, when one of Hamlette’s codefendants was on the lam after making bond.
At Hamlette’s plea and sentencing hearing Wednesday, Commonwealth’s Attorney Lyle Carver said Hamlette had given a “thorough” and “helpful” account of what happened that night to take into account for his codefendants’ cases.
Now that those cases have closed, attorneys submitted the plea agreement to Judge Michael Garrett in Amherst Circuit Court.
Hamlette’s codefendant Kaitlyn Renee Webber, 21, was the “mastermind” behind what happened to Roberson, Carver said. Having been in a relationship with him, she believed he had $20,000 on him and made plans to rob him, he said.
After being turned down by others, she eventually sought help from Hamlette and Floyd Archie Jr. to try and get the money from Roberson for drugs, Carver said. Webber planned to return a necklace to Roberson that night in exchange for money.
That night, Archie drove the three to Duvall’s Barbershop on Old Wright Shop Road in Madison Heights, where Roberson worked.
In what Carver described as a “chaotic scene,” Hamlette then ran into the barber shop with his Glock .45 and shouted, “Where’s the money?” As Roberson ran outside, Carver said Hamlette fired several shots, one hitting Roberson in the chest and killing him.
His body was found by a passerby the following morning.
Webber returned to the scene of the shooting shortly afterward to take Roberson’s car keys and cellphone, Carver said. She also paid Hamlette $100 the following day because she was scared of him, according to Carver.
Both Carver and Bailey, Hamlette’s attorney, said the plan was never to kill Roberson, only to rob him.
Hamlette and Archie were arrested in connection with the shooting in March 2017. Archie was granted bond March 30 while his case was pending and was considered a fugitive by early June, having missed several court dates.
In October 2017, Hamlette told investigators the story “just as it happened” and tried to help law enforcement locate Archie, Bailey said Wednesday.
“He took responsibility that day — as he takes responsibility today — for his actions,” Bailey said.
Archie was taken back into custody Oct. 19, 2017.
Up until Hamlette spoke to investigators, Carver said “no one had really spelled out the whole story.” He said after the hearing, he was prepared for Hamlette to testify at his codefendants’ trials.
Speaking briefly before his sentencing, Hamlette apologized to all of the families involved and said he accepts responsibility for what happened.
Before pronouncing his sentence, Garrett said there was “overwhelming” evidence in the case.
“These are tragic cases all the way around,” he said.
He added the plea agreement provides for an alternative to a capital murder case or a life sentence, allowing Hamlette the opportunity for a life after prison.
Hamlette received a life sentence suspended after 20 years and six months on his murder charge and a mandatory minimum three years on his firearm charge. He’ll have to be on supervised probation for the rest of his life and will owe more than $5,000 in restitution to the Virginia Victims Fund by 2049 alongside his codefendants.
Roberson’s family members have sat in court as each defendant in his murder has been convicted and sentenced, Carver said. Seven of his loved ones were present Wednesday, some wearing shirts that read, “Long live Tyrone.”
His mother, Bernadine Davis, said his family never will forget what happened.
“Something is better than nothing,” she said of Hamlette’s sentence. “We’re glad that this part is over with because having to come and sit in here and listen to this stuff over and over again is not good.”
Rachel Mahoney covers courts for The News & Advance. Reach her at 434-385-5554.