VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. – A man has been sentenced to life in prison plus three three additional years for his role in a drug deal murder.
The Commonwealth’s Attorney for the city of Virginia Beach said 31-year-old Andre Jeru Bernard Bigby was formally sentenced for charges of First Degree Murder and Use of a Firearm on Wednesday.
Bigby was found guilty after a jury trial that began on August 30 and the jury recommended a sentence of life in prison plus three years. Wednesday that sentence was formally imposed.
The Commonwealth’s evidence proved that on February 13, 2018, Joshua Rucker arranged a transaction between Jalyn Harris and Andre Bigby. Harris and a friend were to purchase an ounce of marijuana from Bigby for $225 at the Ocean Walk Apartment Complex on 16th Street in Virginia Beach. Rucker knew that Bigby had a grow operation at his house and had previously set up marijuana sales for him. Rucker was to receive $25 for his efforts in setting up the marijuana deal.
When Harris and his friend drove to meet Bigby for the marijuana deal; however, they did not have enough money. Harris got a black bag containing marijuana from Bigby, then went back into the car and attempted to drive away without paying. Bigby then ran up with a handgun and stated, “I’ve got the hammer for your boy!” He shot Harris one time through the arm and chest. Harris’ friend, who was driving, crashed into a nearby telephone pole as he tried to drive away. After the accident, Harris’ friend ran from the scene with the marijuana. A citizen who heard the incident attempted to revive Harris, but Harris died at the scene, the Commonwealth’s Attorney said.
Meanwhile, Bigby entered his residence and told his girlfriend that, “they tried to run off my stuff” and fled, court records showed. Bigby’s girlfriend did not see him again, but gave his clothing, a backpack, and his wallet to a friend at a nearby 7-Eleven. The black bag of marijuana was recovered, and a 9mm casing was found at the scene of the shooting. When police searched Bigby’s house at the scene of the shooting, they found a marijuana grow operation and a box of 9mm ammunition that was of the same type as the casing from the scene.
Several months later, U.S. Marshals found Bigby living in a tent in the desert in Slab City, California.
Rucker was convicted of misdemeanor Sell/Distribute Marijuana and sentenced to a year in jail which was suspended.
Bigby has prior convictions for Robbery, Use of a Firearm, Abduction, Conspiracy, and Carrying a Concealed Weapon.