Two years after fatal shooting at Va. Beach vow renewal ceremony, questions remain

Posted at 6:51 PM, Feb 18, 2014
and last updated 2014-02-18 18:51:32-05

Virginia Beach, Va. - Almost two years after the death of their loved one, a Norfolk family was devastated earlier this month when the suspect in the trial, Jermaine Belvin, was found not guilty.

Melvin Wilkerson was there the night his son Carlos Wilkerson was shot.  He died in the hospital 12 days later.  Melvin Wilkerson's daughter, Ditesha, was also wounded that night.

The shooting happened after the Wilkerson's 30th anniversary vow renewal ceremony in Virginia Beach in May of 2012.

Although there were witnesses, what happened that chaotic night is still unclear.

NewsChannel 3 spoke with the Va. Beach Commonwealth's Attorney's office Tuesday about the trial.

According to a spokesperson, there were discrepancies in testimony among witnesses.

There were apparently at least three shooters that night, but who they all were is in question.  Some witnesses said they saw the victim, Carlos Wilkerson, with a gun.  Others said they didn't see him with a gun.

According to the Commonwealth's Attorney's office, Ditesha Wilkerson testified that she saw Belvin come towards her with a gun and was then shot.  However, other witnesses testified that another brother said he accidentally shot her when firing at the defendant.

Bullets also couldn't be analyzed because they were too fragmented.

Monday, both the victim's and suspect's families told NewsChannel 3 that during the trial the judge said the Commonwealth didn't do its job. But according to the defendant's attorney, it was not the attorney's office, but a detective that the judge criticized.

According to the defense attorney, the judge expressed concern that the detective did not follow up on who made an anonymous call to police months after the shooting, telling them where they could find one of the guns that was missing from the crime scene.

After the two-day trial, the judge deliberated for about an hour and a half before finding Belvin not guilty.

In a statement, the Commonwealth's Attorney's Office said "the judge determined that the evidence presented did not rise to the level of beyond a reasonable doubt.
Although we disagree with the verdict, we certainly respect it."

The statement also said the case was thoroughly prepared and presented.