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Killer of Petersburg man left near cemetery sentenced to 28 years

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PETERSBURG, Va. — On Wednesday, Devin Thomas entered an Alford plea to second-degree murder, down from first, for the murder of Jeremiah Eugene Jones.

He received 40 years with 20 years suspended, in addition to another three years for use of a firearm in the commission of a felony and five years for concealing a dead body. The total time he will serve, after 20 of the 48 years were suspended, is 28 years in prison.

Two men were charged with the murder of Jones.Jones, age 33, died from multiple gunshot wounds and his body was discovered in a driveway near Poplar Grove National Cemetery. He was shot in the head and the chest, shot three times total, according to the autopsy.

The Petersburg man had been missing since New Year’s Eve.

Joseph Bryan Phillip was also charged with first-degree murder, use of a firearm in the commission of a murder, conspiracy to commit first-degree murder, concealment of dead body, and illegal disposal of dead body on private or public property.

Ann Baskervil, Dinwiddie Commonwealth Attorney, did say that the motive seemed to be “revenge over perceived violation of street protocol,” but the murder was not considered a gang crime.

Thomas previously made the news when he told the media he was assaulted by at least one local police officer outside an apartment complex while he was filming the officers with his smartphone.