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Murder Charges Against Majors Nol Prossed

A murder charge against 36-year-old South Boston resident Ryall Quincy Majors in connection with the Sept. 20, 1993 death of Clinton Tony Briggs was nol prossed Thursday in Halifax County Circuit Court upon a motion by the Commonwealth.

Majors was set to stand trial for the murder of Briggs April 27, but, according to the motion to nol pros, the Commonwealth didn’t learn until the day before the scheduled trial there was no judge appointed to hear any motions or the trial itself.

According to court files, although the Commonwealth was prepared to present its case, no judge was present to hear the matter, and the case was never called.

“As pointed out in the motions filed on behalf of the defendant, there are substantial questions that must be answered regarding this matter to include whether the public defender is still the counsel of record for the defendant or Mr. [Mark] Mokris as the order withdrawing the public defender and appointing Mr. Mokris was signed by a judge who disqualified himself from the case and ostensibly, at the time of the entry of the order, lacked the jurisdiction to enter the order,” the motion to nol pros stated.

“The defendant remains incarcerated and will be going back to the federal facility,” Commonwealth’s Attorney Kim White said Thursday afternoon.

“It’s anticipated additional indictments will be sought against him (Majors) in May,” White added.

New information from the investigation of the 1993 murder led to Majors’ arrest March 23, according to Halifax County Sheriff Stanley Noblin.

Majors, formerly of 504 Westside Drive, was charged with the murder of Briggs, a Plainfield, N.J., resident, according to Noblin.  Briggs was 30-years-old at the time of his death.

A Halifax County grand jury handed down the murder indictment for Majors on July 13, 2009. He was brought to Halifax County on March 23 and Cpl. P.C. Clayton served him with the capias warrant issued by Halifax County Circuit Court.

On the night of Sept. 30, 1993 a call came in to the sheriff’s office around 11:30 that a person was slumped over behind the steering wheel of a vehicle in the middle of Westside Drive near its intersection with Forest Trail, said Investigator J.D. Clay.

Deputies S. M. Cassada and L.W. Fears were the first officers to arrive at the scene, and they found Briggs dead from an apparent gunshot wound to the head, Clay said.

The Virginia State Police mobile forensic unit processed the scene, and state police and sheriff’s office investigators conducted interviews, Noblin said.

“After years of no information and dead avenues, we got new information in 2008,” Clay explained.

“Different individuals have been interviewed in this case,” Clay added. “We’ve had a lot of cooperation from the state police and other agencies in Virginia and North Carolina assisting us in this case.”

Majors appeared in Circuit Court March 24 for an advisement hearing.

Efforts to reach defense attorney Mark Mokris were unsuccessful as of press time Thursday.

Other Court Cases
• Ronnie Dwayne Chappell, 31, of South Boston entered Alford pleas Monday to the assault and battery of Kenneth Wilborn, obstruction of justice and trespassing on the property of Sudan Adams Chappell.

Under terms of an Alford plea, a defendant does not admit guilt but concedes prosecution evidence would make a guilty finding at trial almost a certainty.
Pursuant to the Alford plea agreement, the court sentenced the defendant to three 12-month suspended jail sentences, conditioned on his good behavior for six years, and ordered him placed on probation for one year.

The court ordered the defendant to seek and maintain employment, abstain from illegal drugs and submit to random drug tests, and to have no contact with Susan Adams Chappell or Kenneth Wilborn.

• Lorenzo Donnell Craighead, 25, of South Boston, was convicted Monday of eluding police-endangerment
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The court sentenced Craighead to five years in prison, with all time suspended to that already served, conditioned on Craighead’s good behavior for five years.

The court ordered the defendant placed on probation for one year.

• Sherri Hughes Hackney, 37, of Nathalie, had a charge against her for misdemeanor shoplifting dismissed Monday.

The date of the alleged offense was March 30, 2009, and the court found evidence sufficient to convict the defendant last Oct. 15 but withheld its finding of guilt and continued the case for six months.

• Malina Justice Hicks, 24, of South Boston, was sentenced Monday to five years in prison, with all time suspended to that already served, for a third offense of concealment/shoplifting (Food Lion).

The court ordered the suspended portion of Hicks’ sentence be conditioned on her good behavior for five years and ordered her placed on probation for one year.

The court ordered Hicks to pay $47.31 restitution.

• Donna Lillian Murphy, 53, of Halifax, had a charge against her for prescription fraud dismissed Monday in a first offender review case.

The date of the alleged offense was Feb. 15, 2008, and the court granted her first offender status last April 13, withholding its finding of guilt and continuing the case for 12 months.

• Carly Sue Myers, 25, of Halifax, had a charge against her for possession of cocaine dismissed Monday, following a disposition hearing.

The date of the alleged offense was Nov. 20, 2008, and the court granted Myers first offender status last April 27, withholding its finding of guilt and continuing the case for 12 months.

• Bruce Anthony Nolan, 48, of South Boston, pleaded no contest Monday to a first offense of refusing a blood/breath test in a misdemeanor appeal case.

The court suspended Nolan’s operator’s license for one year, but ordered no fine.