NEWPORT NEWS, VA—Martin Manley, 22, of Newport News, Va., was sentenced today to life in prison for murdering Tony Vaughan outside the Atmosphere Club in Hampton, Va., on Dec. 24, 2007.
Neil H. MacBride, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, Alex J. Turner, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI's Norfolk Division, and James D. Fox, Chief of Newport News Police, made the announcement after sentencing by United States District Judge Rebecca Beach Smith.
“This senseless murder shows the reckless disregard that Martin Manley and other gang members have for human life,” said U.S. Attorney MacBride. “It’s no surprise that violent crime dropped significantly in Newport News after these thugs were taken off the street. We continue to work with the FBI, Newport News Police Department and others to lock up gang members who are terrorizing our communities.”
“This case is yet one more example of how federal, state and local authorities, working as a team, can have a positive impact on crime,” said Chief Fox. “We will continue to work with both the federal and state prosecutors in our efforts to remove violent criminals from the community.”
Manley pled guilty on Oct. 19, 2009, to participating in a racketeering conspiracy, discharging a firearm in connection with a crime of violence, and use of a firearm resulting in the murder of Tony Vaughan. Manley was sentenced to 360 months in prison on the racketeering charge, 120 months consecutive on the firearm charge and was given a life sentence for the murder.
According to a statement of facts filed with his plea agreement, between 2003 and 2009, Manley was a member of the “Dump Squad” street gang, a criminal organization that operated primarily in the Ridley Circle, Harbor Homes and Dickerson Court areas of Newport News. Members engaged in drug distribution and violence including murder, attempted murder and robbery. They often carried firearms to intimidate others and protect themselves from rival gangs. On Dec. 24, 2007, Manley and other gang members were involved in a fight inside the Atmosphere Club. Management at the night club made all of the patrons leave the building. In the parking lot outside, Manley stated to other Dump Squad members that he was going to “drop” the next person he saw. Manley was approached by Tony Vaughan, whom he believed was associated with the person beaten inside the club. A fight ensued and several members of the gang began to beat Vaughan. Manley then obtained a firearm and fired a single shot at Tony Vaughan, who died later that night. A medical examiner determined that the cause of death was a single gunshot wound to the chest.
This case was investigated by the FBI, Newport News Police Department, the Hampton Police Department, and Virginia State Police. Assistant United States Attorneys Laura Tayman and Robert Bradenham II prosecuted this case on behalf of the United States.