* Warning: Some of the details in this story may be disturbing to some readers.
NORFOLK, Va.- News 3 is learning more about the people who allegedly attempted to murder a woman in April 2020 by shooting her in the head and pouring bleach down her throat.
According to recently released court documents, members of the local "set" or group of the larger national gang Rollin' 20's Outlaw Bloods attempted to murder the victim, Brianna Arrington, after she was recruited into the gang. Court documents say Brandon "Sayso" Winnegan is the leader of the local set, and Toporshia "Lawless" Hodges was the highest-ranking female member.
According to a stipulation of facts filed Tuesday in Norfolk Circuit Court, in order to be initiated into the gang, Arrington had to be "jumped in" or beaten up by female members of the gang for a certain amount of time. In the next two or three days after her initiation, she received multiple detrimental punishments for not accurately reciting gang information or properly following orders, and she was assaulted by multiple gang members each time.
On April 23, 2020, Arrington and her 2-year-old arrived at one of the headquarters of the gang, an apartment on Glen Myrtle Avenue, for a planned movie night.
After Arrington received a detrimental punishment from the female gang members present, she told Winnegan she wanted to leave the gang. When Winnegan told the rest of the gang members present, they became angry and assaulted Arrington further. Hodges then insisted that Arrington needed to be killed because she knew too much about the gang.
Arrington attempted to leave by taking her son to her car, where court documents say Deandre "Killa" Watkins dragged her out of the car and back into the apartment against her will. Inside the apartment, gang members strangled Arrington until she went limp and lost consciousness. Court documents say when Arrington did not die, some of the people present tried to snap her neck by quickly turning it to the side; she was also stabbed multiple times, and Watkins and Winnegan attempted to pour bleach down her throat.
Arrington's 2-year-old son was inside the apartment at the time of the assault. Court documents say he was inside a bedroom behind a closed door, but could hear what was happening to his mother.
While the assault occurred, Hodges and other members of the gang took Arrington's phone and began to delete information, including the Facebook accounts of each of the charged defendants, and any information about the gang off the phone.
Tavarrius "Flash" Mitchell and Watkins then loaded Arrington into her own car and drove her several blocks away. She was moved to the front seat of her car after being shot several times, including a gunshot wound that began at her right eye and exited out her right ear.
Arrington was found hours later by a concerned neighbor. When officers responded to the scene, Arrington's face was so swollen that they could not tell if she was alive or how she had been injured.
Arrington's 2-year-old son was dropped off in the West Ghent neighborhood after gang members decided not to kill the child. He was physically unharmed, but according to the stipulation of facts, he has been placed in foster care as a result of needing to be placed in a new home from witnessing what happened to his mother.
According to court documents, Walker said he was at the house where the assault took place for a brief time.
Ten people were arrested in connection to the attempted murder of Brianna Arrington. Only one, 20-year-old Mitchell, has been sentenced at this time.
Mitchell pleaded guilty to seven felony counts on June 15, 2021, and will serve 34 years in state prison after being sentenced to 90 years with 56 years suspended.
The following defendants have pleaded guilty:
- Javonne D. Hodges, 23, of Chesapeake (Pled to five felony counts on April 7, 2022; sentencing scheduled for June 10, 2022)
- Toporshia Hodges, 23, of Norfolk, a.k.a. "Lawless": (Pled to seven felony counts and one misdemeanor on April 5, 2022; Sentencing scheduled for July 29, 2022)
- Asja D. Smith-Moore, 21, of Virginia Beach (Pled to six felony counts on July 26, 2021; sentencing scheduled for May 27, 2022)
- Ginger A. McAfee, 20, of Virginia Beach (Pled to four felony counts on July 22, 2021; sentencing scheduled for May 13, 2022)
- Sadia M. Brown, 25, of Norfolk, a.k.a. "Murk" (Pled to five felony counts on July 1, 2021; sentencing scheduled for June 10, 2022)
- Skylar D. Webb, 20, of Chesapeake (Pled to eight felony counts on June 22, 2021; sentencing scheduled for May 20, 2022)
The following defendants have a plea hearing scheduled:
- Deondre T. Watkins, 25, of Portsmouth, a.k.a. "Killa", has a plea hearing scheduled for April 14, 2022.
- Brandon L. Winnegan, 32, of Newport News, a.k.a. "Sayso" has a plea hearing set for April 14, 2022.
The following defendants have a trial pending:
- Xavier A. Walker, 24, of Virginia Beach (20 felony counts pending, ten-day jury trial scheduled to begin April 18, 2022)
Charges include: Malicious Wounding, Use of Firearm in Commission of a Felony, Abduction, Mob Assault, Conspiracy to Commit Felony, Grand Larceny, Gang Hazing, Gang Participating, and Gang Recruitment.
News 3 spoke with a former gang member about gang culture. Chris Yarbough says getting out of gang isn’t always easy.
"There is that 'blood in, blood out' oath with a lot of these gangs. I’ve seen every level of getting out or becoming inactive. I’ve seen people get jumped out. I’ve seen people get beat out. The worst case scenario is what you just said - they tried to kill her. And that’s a different level," Yarboug said.
Crime analyst and former Norfolk Police officer Rick James says people often join gangs to have a sense of community.
"The precursor to gangs are the breakdown of the family. What happens is gangs become the family of the members that join the gang. They want a sense of belonging," Rick James, retired Norfolk Police officer and detective, said.