On Friday, a Newport News Judge sentenced a man to more than 30 years in prison for shooting and killing a man over a passing comment.
Judge David F. Pugh imposed the sentence on Joshua Caffey that was recommended by a jury in April for murdering Vidal Lamont Sills for simply making an off-hand comment to the mother of Sills’ youngest daughter.
Judge Pugh told Caffey that he found no redeeming value in him and that he hoped Caffey would find spiritual enlightenment as he got older and needed the help of others. He sentenced Caffey to 30 years for the murder and three years for using a firearm to do so.
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.