The second man charged in a violent November brawl at a Roanoke smoke shop has been convicted of malicious wounding.
On Monday, Quinton Maurice Dillard, 36, pleaded no contest to that offense. The charge was downgraded from aggravated malicious wounding through his agreement with prosecutors.
In Virginia, straight malicious wounding can bring prison terms of between five and 20 years, while the more serious charge of aggravated malicious wounding can carry up to a life sentence.
Dillard’s plea came one day before he was scheduled to have his case heard by jurors, and arrived a little less than two weeks after a separate jury found his twin brother, Quante Martice Dillard, guilty of malicious wounding in the same incident.
During Monday’s plea hearing, Roanoke assistant prosecutor Andrew Stephens said that Sept. 2 verdict against Quante Dillard had partially motivated the move to reach an agreement on the same charge in Quinton Dillard’s case.
The fight in question broke out late Nov. 10, at Sherie’s Place on Williamson Road, where the Dillards were playing electronic table games alongside a third man, Ralph Edward Ames, whom they reportedly did not know.
Earlier hearings established that at some point, Ames and Quante Dillard exchanged words and Ames punched him. Quinton Dillard then hit Ames hard enough to knock him to the ground.
A central piece of evidence against both brothers was a security video, which showed the Dillards continuing to hit, kick and stomp Ames even after he was down. In the footage, Quante Dillard can be seen leaving and then coming back to deliver more blows to the visibly injured man.
Although he did not make any comments on Monday, Quinton Dillard gave an impassioned argument in defense of the incident during a Mar. 15 bond hearing. At that time, he said the security cameras did not capture Ames’ initial attack, and complained that Ames was not charged for throwing the first punch.
“I can’t be wrong for protecting my brother ... I had every right to defend him,” Quinton Dillard told a judge. “Before this happened, I worked. I had a job. Everything I lost ... was from saving my brother.”
Ames, whom prosecutors said suffered a fractured jaw, a fractured orbital bone, and a traumatic brain injury, did not testify against either defendant. Even without hearing from him, however, jurors in the Sept. 2 case found the attack malicious.
Both men will be sentenced at hearings later this year.