Prosecutors could seek death penalty for man accused of strangling ex-girlfriend

Posted at 9:11 PM, Nov 29, 2012
and last updated 2012-11-29 21:11:14-05

Mandi Myers—strangled, according to Beach police.

Phylicia Robinson—dumped in a closet, according to Norfolk police.

Two murder scenes, in two different cities, with one man at the center of it all.

Now, NewsChannel 3 is learning Jamiel Douglas Graves could be facing the death penalty in both cases because of a little known Virginia law.

“There are a very small number of factual situations that qualify for Capital Murder in Virginia, and this happens to be one of them,” said Harvey Bryant, the Commonwealth Attorney for Virginia Beach.

Bryant says because the murders of Mandi Myers and Phylicia Robinson happened within three years of each other, both cases are eligible for the death penalty.

Bryant met with detectives in the Mandi Myers case today, and they determined prosecutors will go ahead with a 1st degree murder charge against Graves.

Bryant, though, has not yet decided on whether to file Capital Murder charges--he says there will be a lot of factors to consider.

“How heinous was the crime? Is this person a future danger? Also, I will evaluate whether or not a jury of 12 would be able to reach a decision to have this person executed,” said Bryant.

A Capital Murder case brings complications along with it--more appeals, more lawyers, and a lengthy trial process.

Still, there could be even more of a hold up, if Graves decides to file an insanity defense.

“Obviously there might be some mental issues in this case, I don’t want to go any further than that, but that always complicates what ultimately happens in the end,” said Bryant.

With two murder cases in two different cities with two different victims, Bryant promised he would work together with Norfolk Commonwealth Attorney Greg Underwood.

The two offices have worked together in the past, and will share information and evidence that could help in both trials, to make sure there are no barriers to justice for Phylicia Robinson or Mandi Myers.

“We will work it out so it works best for the families first, then the criminal justice process second,” said Bryant.


Family, friends hold vigil for Norfolk woman found dead in neighbor’s closet

Man charged with murder of two women served in the military

Family says body found in Norfolk has been identified

Officials say Beach woman allegedly killed by ex-boyfriend died from strangulation