A brotherhood ends in violence; Rufus Dillard sentenced to life in prison

Posted at 11:53 AM, Feb 12, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-12 16:39:34-05

PORTSMOUTH, Va. - The families of Terence Johnson and Rufus Dillard both acknowledge that the two young men were best friends since childhood, but one night altered their lives forever.

It was May 6, 2016 when police say they responded to the Marsh Landing Apartments and found 21-year-old Terence "T" Johnson dead in a white SUV, shot multiple times. Johnson's pockets were turned out and his wallet and cell phone were gone. The investigation shows 5-8 rounds were fired into the vehicle.

Days later police arrested 21-year-old Rufus Dillard for the crime, charging him with 1st degree murder, robbery and firearms charges.

During the sentencing hearing both families spoke of the brotherhood between the two, saying Dillard and Johnson were born two weeks apart and their mothers were lifelong friends. To this day the motive behind the crime is still unclear.

From the stand, Johnson's mother Kim Harris said, "this is a terrible thing that has happened between these two families and it has literally, literally destroyed us."

After the trial, a jury recommended a life sentence plus 13 years in prison. On Monday the judge accepted that recommendation and sent Dillard, now 23, away for life.

The Commonwealth's Attorney remarked the defendant walked into the court room smiling and showed a lack of remorse during the trial and the sentencing hearing.

Dillard's mother spoke to News 3 saying she does not believe her son committed this crime.

Attorney Andrew Sacks did not represent Dillard in the trial, but was present for the sentencing hearing. He told the judge his client does plan to appeal his sentence.

News 3 has also learned Dillard's brother Carlos Hinton is also incarcerated for a shooting in Virginia Beach.

Johnson, the victim, leaves behind a 4 year old daughter.