Maximum Sentence for Officer Thyne’s Killer; Gwynn Gives Remarks at Memorial Service

[NEWPORT NEWS – JULY 14, 2023] Today, the Newport News Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office successfully secured a 50-year prison sentence for Vernon E. Green, the man responsible for the tragic death of Newport News Police Officer Katherine M. “Katie” Thyne. Officer Thyne, a devoted and beloved member of the Newport News Police Department, was killed by Green during a routine investigation at the Monitor-Merrimac Overlook Park.

The loss of Officer Thyne deeply affected her family, friends, colleagues, and the entire Newport News community. Her death marked the first time in 25 years that a Newport News police officer was killed in the line of duty and was a somber reminder of the risks law enforcement officers face daily to keep our communities safe.

Commonwealth’s Attorney Howard Gwynn’s remarks in remembrance of Officer Thyne at her memorial service on February 3, 2020.

Green, 41, drove off in his parked car while Officer Thyne and another officer were attempting to apprehend him. The 50-year sentence handed down by Circuit Court Judge Christopher Papile, was the maximum sentence allowed by law.  Judge Papile emphasized that Green had shown no remorse for his actions that led to Officer Thyne’s untimely death on January 23, 2020.

Judge Papile, in delivering the sentence, noted that Green had shown no regret for his actions and failed to acknowledge the impact of his actions on Officer Thyne’s family and the community. The court recognized the gravity of the case and the devastating impact it had on Officer Thyne’s five-year-old daughter, who was only two years old at the time of her mother’s death. The court heard heartbreaking statements from Officer Thyne’s family members, who spoke of the vibrant and loving person she was and the tremendous loss they experienced.

"Even though it was the maximum penalty, there is no sentence that can soothe the pain of this family for the loss they suffered. My office extends its sympathy and support to Officer Thyne's family, friends, and colleagues including the many dedicated police officers with whom she served.”
Newport News Commonwealth's Attorney, Howard E. Gwynn portrait.
Howard Gwynn
Commonwealth's Attorney

The Commonwealth argued that Green deserved the maximum sentence due to his complete disregard for Officer Thyne’s life and his lack of remorse. Despite sentencing guidelines suggesting a term of 16 to 28 years, the Court agreed with the Commonwealth’s request and imposed the maximum 50-year sentence allowed by law.

While we can never undo the pain caused by this tragedy, today’s sentence is a testament to our city’s commitment to seek justice for victims and their families, and to support our partners in public safety. This case was prosecuted by Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney Dennis Guthinger and Senior Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney James Patterson on behalf of the Commonwealth.

"For Katie, it was about the lives you touch and the relationships that you build, and the people that you bless. She got it. So to each one of you who love Katie . . . to honor her, live your life so that you will see her again."
Newport News Commonwealth's Attorney, Howard E. Gwynn portrait.
Howard Gwynn
Commonwealth's Attorney

Newport News Commonwealth’s Attorney
Phone: 757-926-7443
2501 Washington Avenue, 6th Floor
Newport News, VA 23607

Privacy and Accessibility

Virginia FOIA Information

The Newport News Commonwealth’s Attorney prosecutes criminal cases that occur within the City of Newport News, on behalf of the citizens of the Commonwealth. The elected Commonwealth’s Attorney is Mr. Howard E. Gwynn.