Warning: Details in this story are graphic and may be disturbing to some readers.
NORFOLK, Va. - A Norfolk man will serve 50 years in prison for the December 2019 murder of his infant daughter, as well as the December 2020 murders of his infant son and the mother of both children.
Duwayne Warren, 27, was sentenced in Norfolk Circuit Court Friday on three counts of second-degree murder connected to the deaths of 12-week-old Evonne Warren, 14-week-old Damere Warren and 22-year-old Epifani Andrews.
On December 19, 2019, Norfolk Emergency Services personnel responded to a report of an unresponsive baby at Warren and Andrews' home. When medics arrived, they pronounced the couple's 12-week-old daughter, Evonne, dead.
Warren told Norfolk Police detectives that he had co-slept with his daughter and, upon waking, noticed she was cold to the touch and unresponsive.
An autopsy revealed that Evonne had injuries indicative of intentional smothering, as well as evidence of trauma that occurred over her life and around the time of her death. Evonne also had a low body weight and was determined to have been nutritionally and medically neglected.
Evonne’s official cause of death was undetermined but suspected to be asphyxia due to evidence of smothering. However, the medical examiner who conducted Evonne’s autopsy could not rule out death caused by co-sleeping adults.
In September 2020, Andrews gave birth to another child, Damere, with Warren. In his short life of only 14 weeks, Damere suffered the same abuse that his sister Evonne had suffered. His autopsy showed that he had multiple scars, numerous rib fractures in different stages of healing, a healed fracture of his right arm, and a contusion of the brain, all the product of numerous and severe beatings.
On December 29, 2020, the day Warren murdered Andrews and Damere, Andrews went to Warren's apartment to pick up Damere. Warren and Andrews were living separately at this time; Warren had been watching Damere over the Christmas holiday.
Warren led Andrews inside the apartment to a back room. Court documents say Damere had already been beaten to death when Andrews was brought inside.
Once Warren got Andrews into the back room, he stabbed her at least 25 times with a knife. Andrews attempted to flee, but Warren chased her to the front door and beat her in the face with a sound bar to the point where she was unrecognizable.
Investigators said the damage he caused required the medical examiner to confirm Andrews’ identity using her dental records.
A call was made to 911 as Warren killed Andrews. When the police arrived at the apartment, Warren stepped out covered in blood; police found Andrews lying unresponsive in a pool of blood at the door and Damere dead in the back room.
Warren was arrested. After waiving his Miranda rights, he admitted to detectives that he killed Andrews and his son, claiming he didn't know why besides saying that he is "always angry."
Warren further stated, “I murdered her. I love her, though. I don’t know why I hurt her.”
"There is no soul more innocent and worthy of love than a baby’s,” said Commonwealth’s Attorney Ramin Fatehi. “Evonne and Damere deserved love, care, and affection, and in the short but terrible weeks that they lived, Duwayne Warren inflicted on them nothing but suffering and pain. Their mother Epifani lived a life too short and suffered a terrible death at the hands of the man who claimed to love her. Duwayne Warren will probably spend the rest of his life in prison, as he deserves. I only wish that there were some way to bring Epifani and her babies back.
"It is never OK to hit a child. It is never OK to hit someone one claims to love. I ask anyone who fears for the safety of a loved one, especially a child, to call Child Protective Services, the Norfolk Police Department, the Norfolk Family Justice Center, or any of the other resources we have to address intimate-partner violence and, hopefully, to prevent these terrible tragedies."