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Man pleads guilty to murder of 4-year-old son in Norfolk

Rayvon A. Messer

NORFOLK, Va. – Rayvon Messer pleaded guilty to homicide Tuesday after his son, 4-year-old Rayvon Messer Jr., was shot and killed on April 19, 2017.

Messer pleaded guilty to one count of felony homicide and one count of felony child abuse and neglect.

During his bond hearing, Messer’s attorney said it was a tragic accident and that the son shot himself. Messer went outside for a few minutes that night and heard a pop, the attorney said.

Messer’s attorney also acknowledged he was dishonest about what happened that night at first because he was scared. Messer originally said this all happened in a drive-by shooting, but then said it was an accident.

The prosecutor said the 4 year-old had been in trouble earlier in the day at school. He went to Messer’s house even though he didn’t want to be go.

The incident happened in the 9500 block of 19th Bay Street around 7:45 p.m. Medics arrived to find the 4-year-old boy outside suffering from a gunshot wound.

Police scanners reported the child was hit in his stomach. The child was rushed to Sentara Norfolk General Hospital, but died from his injuries.

The boy had been shot in the chest at a downward angle, according to the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office.

Hours later, police arrested Messer and charged him with second degree murder, and using a gun to commit the crime.

Messer’s sentencing is scheduled for October 18, 2019.

It was a very emotional day in court during Messer’s sentencing hearing. Eleven people took the witness stand to testify including April Green who was the mother of Rayvon Jr. – the child who was shot and killed. Under oath, Green said Rayvon Jr. was her only child. She says her son died on her birthday. Green also says she often works over time at her job to keep her mind off of her son.

During Green’s testimony, Messer became emotional. Green along with her family say they don’t hate Messer and there’s no doubt he loved their son, but they do want closure.

A coworker of Messer took the stand and he said Messer was always a hard worker. He also said Messer was a good father to his son.

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