Jury recommends Virginia Beach man spend 29 years in prison for robbery, murder

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. – After a three day trial, Harold Vincent Cole Jr., 32, was found guilty of first degree murder, robbery, use of a firearm and conspiracy, according to the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s office.

Harold Vincent Cole Jr., charged with Robbery and Use of a Firearm.

Cole is one of two people who were charged after 19-year-old Gregory Delong was found dead inside a car in the parking lot of Carriage House Apartments off of Wesleyan Drive.

Malik Brown, who was a 17 at the time of the incident, was charged with First Degree Murder, Robbery, Use of a Firearm, and Conspiracy to Commit a Felony. The juvenile is being housed in the Virginia Beach Juvenile Detention Center without bond. He faces up to 18 years in prison when sentenced on January 21.

According to the Commonwealth’s Attorney, Brown made arrangements to buy marijuana from Delong. Brown and Delong knew each other, and Brown was unhappy with the quality of marijuana Delong previously sold to him.

Around the same time, Cole owed Brown money. Cole and Brown planned to rob Delong during the drug deal, so that Cole’s debt from Brown could be made whole.

Cole encouraged brown to set up the drug deal with Delong and the two planned to “scare” Delong.

On the afternoon of June 16, 2016, Delong sent a text to Brown asking him to meet him in a parking lot at 1033 Carriage House Road.

When Delong arrived, Cole and Brown got into his car. Cole, who was sitting in the seat behind the driver’s seat, started hitting Delong in the head with a gun. Brown got out of the car to see whether they had attracted the attention of police or bystanders.

Brown heard Delong begging for Cole to stop. Cole then shot Delong once in the head, killing him immediately.

Cole and Brown stole the marijuana and ran away. A few minutes later, they returned to the scene to clean up potential evidence left behind. They wiped down the inside of the car and took two cell phones that belonged to Delong.

Police were called to the scene to investigate.

Cell phone records show that Brown was the last person Delong talked to before he was found dead. Additional analysis of phone records showed frequent communication between Brown and Cole shortly after the murder and the days after, referencing news reports of the murder.

Cole and Brown were arrested a few days later. While in jail, Cole told an inmate about his involvement in the murder. Another witness testified that Cole tried to give him the murder weapon.

Cole has prior convictions for Armed Robbery, Distribution of Marijuana, Possession of Cocaine, Possession of Firearm while Possessing Schedule I/II Drug, Possession of Firearm by Convicted Felon, and Possession of Marijuana.