On Tuesday, a Newport News jury deliberated about one hour before finding Joshua Caffey, 24, guilty of coldly murdering Vidal Lamont Sills, 41, for simply making an off-hand comment to the mother of Sills’ youngest daughter.
The jury found Caffey guilty of second-degree murder and using a firearm in the commission of a felony. The jury also recommended that Caffey be sentenced to 30 years for the murder and 3 years for the firearm charge. He will be formally sentenced July 17.
On April 25, 2014, Sills was at LaShonta Meredith’s apartment playing cards with several others. Sills and Meredith have a 5-year-old daughter who was at the apartment that night along with Meredith’s three other children.
Caffey, who had recently met Meredith, came by to play cards and to visit with Meredith. Later that evening, Sills was talking to Meredith and made some comment that Meredith did not hear. When Sills asked her if she heard him, Caffey came in and told Sills to come outside so they could talk.
Sills stepped outside the apartment, followed by another woman, when Caffey turned and without a word shot Sills in the neck, severing an artery. The bullet exited Sills’ face. Caffey shot Sills once more while Sills was falling, hitting Sills in the back.
There had been no prior disagreement between the two men and apparently Caffey was angered by the conversation between Sills and Meredith. Caffey walked off and was arrested two days later. The gun he used to kill Sills was in the back seat of the car he was in when arrested.
Caffey has an extensive criminal history. As a juvenile he was adjudicated guilty of malicious wounding, assault by mob and robbery. He was sent to the Department of Juvenile Justice to be rehabilitated and confined for those crimes. But on his release, Caffey continued to endanger the community. As an adult he was convicted of indecent exposure and another malicious wounding. He had been out of prison only about 1 year at the time he murdered Sills.
Caffey faces additional charges for assaulting deputies while he was held in jail before trial. In addition to his daughter with Meredith, Sills leaves behind a 13-year-old daughter living in Philadelphia.