Judge hands down 50+ year sentences to men who killed Richmond teen Tynashia Humphrey

Posted at 5:47 PM, Sep 18, 2023

RICHMOND, Va. -- Two men convicted in the killing of 15-year-old Tynashia Humphrey in a September 2022 shooting in Richmond were each sentenced to over half a century in prison Monday.

Humphrey, an Armstrong High School student described as a "sweet girl with a contagious smile," was killed as she walked back from the store on the outskirts of Gilpin Court at North First and Federal Street.

Tyree Coley, 21, and Savonne Henderson, 24, were each sentenced to 56 years in prison for their roles in Humphrey's murder.

Prosecutors said the men were in a gang and part of a five-person drive-by shooting -- targeting someone Coley had ongoing issues with -- and Humphrey was caught in the crossfire. Prosecutors said Henderson drove one of the two cars used and Coley fired one of the three firearms used.

Attorneys for the two men said both men felt for Humphrey and her family, but maintained their innocence.

The sentencing guidelines were higher for Henderson (between 42 years and 11 months to 71 years) because of his lengthier criminal history -- so prosecutors asked the judge to go beyond the guidelines for Coley (between 26 to 43 years) -- saying he, as one of the shooters, shouldn't get less time than Henderson, one of the drivers.

Henderson's attorney said nothing would change what happened that day, but added they were working within the justice system, not one of retribution and revenge (and if that was the case it would just be life sentences for all murders). He asked the judge to consider that Henderson was just the driver (while mentioning Henderson still maintains he was not), not one of the shooters.

Coley's attorney, who also said his client maintains he was not involved, asked the judge not to do as the prosecutors asked to go above his sentencing guidelines and to consider his young age.

Circuit Court Judge Phillip Hairston retired for about 20 minutes before returning to court and announcing both men's sentences. In his written reasoning for going above the sentencing guidelines for Coley, he said it was because of a "lack of remorse; egregious [sic] nature of the offenses."

Tynashia Humphrey

During their arguments for sentencing, Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney Katherine Groover told the court it was "ironic and eerie" that the sentencing was happening one-year after a community march was held decrying the violence in the city. The marchers walked from the spot where Humphrey was killed to the steps of the courthouse.

Groover said the participants were demanding justice and said the two men needed to be sent away to both allay the fears of Humphrey's family that they will return to the streets and to send a message to other gang members that their violence will not be tolerated.

"If you do the crime, you see today that you're going to do some very, very harsh time," United Communities Against Crime executive director Charles Willis said, who took part in the march.

Willis, an advocate against community violence, said he was personally against long sentences like this, as he wanted people to be rehabilitated and given a chance to give back to society. But, he said, the two men could still do that despite their prison sentences.

"Recognize and realize the things that you have done that was wrong to our society, in our community, that you can also reach out to another young person, you might be locked up, but you're not locked up," he said.

Willis said he prayed for all the families impacted by this and added while the sentencing may not bring back Humphrey, the mission her case inspired will continue.

"Her physical body is separated, but her life and spirit live on with all of us in the city of Richmond," he said.

Three more men will still stand trial in this case: Mitchell Hudson, Jr., is set for a four-day jury trial starting Oct. 30, 2023. Rashard Jackson and Rarmil Coley-Pettiford have not had their trial dates set.

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