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Man admits guilt in fatal shooting as Roanoke gang case advances

Man admits guilt in fatal shooting as Roanoke gang case advances

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A 21-year-old Roanoke man admitted responsibility Friday for the fatal shooting of a man he had met to buy marijuana.

Trayvone Raycron Kasey, who also admitted involvement in a second death, faces spending the rest of his life in prison. In pleading guilty to federal charges, he became the second of four defendants convicted in U.S. Attorney Thomas Cullen’s takedown of a violent street gang operating in northwest Roanoke.

Kasey placed his signature on a prosecution narrative that said he met Markel Trevon Girty, 23, near the Lansdowne public housing complex in February 2018 to buy about an ounce of marijuana. At some point during the encounter, Kasey shot Girty in the chest at close range, took the marijuana and left the area, the narrative said.

Girty began driving and was speaking to a 911 operator to report he had been shot when he lost control and crashed his vehicle, the narrative said. An EMS crew found him unresponsive. The Roanoke man was pronounced dead at a hospital.

His mother shared her grief a few days later, telling The Roanoke Times that Girty had worked a variety of jobs including cleaning houses, cleaning carpets and watching children at the YMCA. He had a girlfriend and was the father of a child born a few days after his death, Amy Girty said at the time.

Kasey appeared before U.S. District Court Judge Michael Urbanski Thursday on a videoconference from the Western Virginia Regional Jail. Among his admissions, he agreed that he was a member of the Roanoke branch of the Rollin’ 30 Crips. The government charged four men in fall 2018 with responsibility for a series of violent acts and drug and gun crimes in what Cullen said was a crackdown on the Rollin’ 30 Crips.

The prosecution is also about the 2017 shooting death of Nickalas Lee, 17. Kasey agreed that the prosecution narrative correctly placed him at the scene of that killing also and described his role in it.

The narrative gave this account: Lee was in hot water with the gang over a belief that he had associated with members of a rival gang. The same was true for another person identified in court only as D.F. Sean Denzel Guerrant, identified by authorities as the leader of the Rollin’ 30 Crips, ordered Lee to kill D.F. But at the time and place when the killing was supposed to occur, D.F. fled. Kasey and alleged gang member Demonte Rashod Mack turned on Lee and fired guns as Lee fled. They chased him down, at which point Mack shot Lee in the back. Police found Lee alive but he died a short time later.

Guerrant and Mack have pleaded not guilty. They are scheduled for trial Oct. 5 at the Poff federal building. The trial is scheduled to run four weeks.

In carrying out his obligations under a plea deal, Kasey pleaded guilty to murder in connection with Lee’s death, gun charges related to Girty’s death and Lee’s death, robbery of Girty, and two conspiracy charges. Urbanski told Kasey that he will automatically be sentenced to spend the rest of his life in prison without chance of release, except under one circumstance. That would occur if prosecutors formally determine after the trial that Kasey provided the government with substantial help in winning the case and ask the court for leniency for Kasey as a result.

In a previous hearing, Chauncey Dion Levesy pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit murder in aid of racketeering and racketeering conspiracy. His plea deal, which was signed in August 2019, capped his sentence at 20 years.

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Jeff Sturgeon covers business, banking, transportation and federal court. Phone: (540) 981-3251. Email: jeff.sturgeon@roanoke.com. Mail: 201 W. Campbell Ave., Roanoke, VA 24011.

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