Man who committed Lynchburg robbery as teen is found guilty

Published: Nov. 17, 2022 at 5:33 PM EST
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LYNCHBURG, Va. (WDBJ) - A man who robbed four people in a car when he was a teenager has been convicted in Lynchburg Circuit Court.

Keyon Da’Monta Petty, now 18, was convicted by a Lynchburg jury of three counts of Robbery by Use or Display of a Firearm, three counts of Use of a Firearm During a Felony, Possession of a Handgun by a Minor and Criminal Street Gang Participation. Petty was 17 years old at the time of the robbery and was tried as an adult.

October 7, 2021, Lynchburg Police officers were called to a report of a robbery with shots fired. The victims of the robbery included three adults and one child inside a car.

A woman from the car told police she had arranged to meet a man through Facebook to sell a phone. She was instructed to meet the person on Fourth Street between Jackson and Polk Streets. She rode as the front seat passenger in the vehicle, while her male friend drove. Another woman was the rear passenger along with the child. When the group in the car arrived on Fourth Street, they saw a group of four young males, and the woman confirmed one of the males in the group was the buyer from Facebook.

He approached the front passenger’s window, spoke, then pulled out a gun, according to Commonwealth’s Attorney Bethany Harrison. When he pulled the gun, the other three males also showed guns and surrounded the car, telling the occupants of the car to get out. The driver was taken across the street, separated from the females and the child. Purses containing cash were taken from both women, two cell phones were taken from the front seat woman, and a cell phone was taken from the man. No one was hurt during the incident.

Three blocks from the robbery, Lynchburg officers found four young males who matched the descriptions of the robbers, including Petty, identified by the victims as one of the robbers. He carried a backpack containing four semiautomatic guns, according to CA Harrison.

A social media video made and posted by Petty the day of the robbery depicted Petty and the three other robbers, all juveniles, showing off the firearms located inside Petty’s backpack, displaying hand signs consistent with membership in the 8 Tray Crips, a criminal street gang, according to Harrison. The video showed all four robbers in area of the robbery 10-15 minutes before the robbery.

Harrison says all four teens were arrested, but charges were dropped against the other three after scheduling problems with witnesses. When Harrison asked the victims if they were willing to go back to court if charges were reinstated, they declined.

Petty is scheduled for sentencing January 11, 2023.