RICHMOND - A state appellate court has turned down a Petersburg man's request to overturn 2019 abduction and firearms convictions involving a former girlfriend and her child at their apartment, claiming the abduction verdict was improper because he never did anything to the child.
Tyshawn Lee Brown, 25, is currently incarcerated at the St. Brides Correctional Center in Chesapeake. He was convicted of forcing the woman into a closet, then assaulting and shooting her when she tried to end their relationship.
Lawyers for Tyshawn Lee Brown claimed that the abduction conviction was invalid because evidence never showed that he had abducted the child. In an opinion released Tuesday, the Virginia Court of Appeals said the inclusion of the child on the indictment was purely technical because prosecutors only needed to prove that the woman named in the indictment had been subjected to the activity. The child was not specifically named.
"Brown makes a purely technical argument of fatal variance because of the inclusion of [the] child in the indictment," stated the opinion written by Judge Clifford Athey Jr. "This Court is not required to reverse when a variance is purely technical."
Last year, a Petersburg Circuit Court judge found Brown, 25, guilty on charges of abduction by force or intimidation and use of a firearm in the commission of a felony for a November 2019 incident at the apartment he shared with the victim and the child. According to evidence presented at trial, Brown became angry after she said she wanted to end their relationship and threw her into a closet, then punched her in the face several times. As she was trying to get out of the closet, Brown shot her in her back, arm and waist, then took her cell phone and, while in her presence, called someone to say he had killed her.
After she was shot, the woman said she blacked out momentarily, then tried to crawl to her child who was calling her name. The child was not physically harmed.
Evidence showed the victim pleading with Brown to not kill her, promising to call the police and say an intruder had assaulted and shot her. When police arrived, Brown maintained that claim, but the victim eventually told authorities that Brown was the culprit.
According to state Department of Corrections records, Brown is scheduled to be released in 2025.
Bill Atkinson (he/him/his) is an award-winning journalist and daily news coach for USA TODAY Network's Atlantic Region which includes Virginia. He is based in Petersburg, Virginia. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article originally appeared on The Progress-Index: Virginia court upholds Petersburg man's abduction, firearm convictions