michael todd hancock convicted

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ms j

AOL

#1 Mar 29, 2007
Jury convicts man of murder
Prosecutor will seek the death penalty in slaying of two Nottoway County men
BY JAMIE C. RUFF
TIMES-DISPATCH STAFF WRITER Mar 29, 2007
NOTTOWAY -- After three hours of deliberations, a Nottoway County jury convicted Michael Todd Hancock of three counts of capital murder late yesterday.
Nottoway Commonwealth's Attorney Mayo K. Gravatt said he will seek the death penalty when the sentencing phase begins today. Hancock faces either life in prison or death for each count.
Prosecutors said Hancock gunned down two Nottoway County men in 2005 because he was desperate for rent money.
Gravatt argued that Hancock shot Leonard Curtis Johnson Jr. and Donald Leon Ryder in separate incidents in August 2005 -- in part to rob them for rent money.
The body of Johnson, 46, was discovered Aug. 3, 2005, outside his home in his truck, which was running and had its backup lights on. He had been on his way to his midnight-shift job when he was shot five times in the left side of the head.
Authorities believe Hancock shot Ryder, 44, of Crewe the following day, though Ryder's skeletal remains were not discovered until Nov. 6 in the woods near a dead-end road in the southwestern part of the county. He had been shot in the back of the head.
As the verdict was read, Hancock's mother began sobbing uncontrollably and had to be escorted from the courtroom. Hancock did not show emotion.
He was also charged with two counts each of robbery, use of a firearm and possession of a firearm. He was convicted yesterday of the two robbery charges and the two firearm use charges, but the possession charges will be tried at another date.
In his closing statement yesterday, Gravatt said Hancock is "guilty beyond any doubt" and that there was more to his actions than simple robbery.
"It takes some kind of human being that is hard to describe to murder these people like that," Gravatt said. "It's got to be the thrill."
But defense attorneys Craig S. Cooley and Christopher J. Collins insisted their client was taking the fall for his girlfriend, Tracy Lynn Reeves, who is also facing a capital-murder charge, as well as two counts each of first-degree murder, robbery and firearms charges from the slayings.
Reeves was the prosecutor's star witness, testifying that she was present at both slayings and outlining how Hancock committed them.
Reeves' trial date will be set in May.
ms j

AOL

#2 Mar 30, 2007
NOTTOWAY -- Convicted capital murderer Michael Todd Hancock was spared a death sentence yesterday after his attorneys convinced the prosecutor to give him life in prison.

Hancock, 39, was convicted Wednesday of three counts of capital murder by a Nottoway County Circuit Court jury. He also was found guilty of two counts each of robbery and use of a firearm for the two August 2005 slayings.

The jury was to decide yesterday whether he would be sentenced to death or life in prison, the only punishment options for a capital-murder conviction.

But Nottoway Commonwealth's Attorney Mayo K. Gravatt , who had planned to seek the death penalty, said Hancock's defense attorneys approached him Wednesday night about sparing Hancock's life. Gravatt said he spoke to the victims' families before court started yesterday.

"We ... concluded this would give finality to the case, rather than 10 years of appeals" after a death sentence, he said.

Gravatt said he still believes Hancock deserved a death sentence, but he also understands the difficulty faced by a jury in imposing such a sentence.

Hancock shot Leonard Curtis Johnson Jr. five times in the head as he sat in his truck in front of his house, about to go to his midnight-shift job. Hancock also stole Johnson's wallet. Johnson's body was discovered the morning of Aug. 3, 2005, in the truck, which was still running.

The next day, Hancock shot Donald Leon Ryder, 44, of Crewe in the back of the head, though his skeletal remains were not discovered until Nov. 6 in the woods near a dead-end road in the southwestern part of the county.

Authorities believe Hancock killed the men to gather money for his rent. The robberies netted Hancock a total of about $150, and he paid the $350 rent the day after the second slaying.

During Hancock's trial, defense attorneys Craig S. Cooley and Christopher J. Collins argued that their client was taking the fall for his girlfriend, Tracy Lynn Reeves, who is also charged with capital murder, as well as two counts each of first degree murder, robbery and firearm charges arising from the slayings. Her trial date is expected to be set in May.

The defense attorneys noted that neither DNA nor fingerprints placed Hancock at either slaying -- only the word of Reeves.

Circuit Judge Thomas V. Warren sentenced Hancock to life in prison on the three capital murder convictions; a life sentence on each of the two robbery convictions; three years in prison for one of the firearm convictions; and five years for the other firearm conviction.

Hancock is also charged with two counts of possession of a firearm and is expected to be tried later for those.
Wanda Young

Fredericksburg, VA

#3 Apr 5, 2007
Ms. J
What point are you trying to prove to be sure that the articles of Michael are being read? The Nottoway and Richmond papers are already doing a fine job of posting this themselves. Be sure to post the Tracy Reeves story when shes convicted.
ms j

AOL

#4 Apr 5, 2007
Well I wasn't trying to prove any point, I was trying to get a discussion going about the case, and yes I plan to post Tracy Reeve's story also.
Wanda Young

Mineral, VA

#5 Apr 6, 2007
Sorry if I sounded rude, it has been a rough week and having to deal with people's comments has been hard. What kind of discussion are you looking for about the case? I will say this much, Tracy Reeves is not as innocent as she is portraying herself to be. There are a lot of things that fell through the cracks just because they wanted to prosecute Michael. They had no evidence whatso ever to point to him except for Tracy's testimon. Which was proven that her statements to the police changed six times. And, she lied under oath. It was unfair to begin with to have that trial in Nottoway Co.
ms j

AOL

#6 Apr 7, 2007
That's ok. I would like to know other people's views on this case. I feel that Tracy should receive the exact same thing Micheal received. I agree that it shouldn't have been tried in Nottoway.
Wanda Young

Mineral, VA

#7 Apr 11, 2007
Ms. J
I'm sorry to ask this, but I am curious. Are you a reporter for a newspaper?

Since: Apr 07

Crewe Va

#8 Apr 12, 2007
No I'm not, I live in Crewe and I know how backwards the Nottoway court system is.
Wanda

Mineral, VA

#9 Apr 13, 2007
O.k. It is so hard to believe how Nottoway County keeps getting away with the stuff that they do. I am just so afraid that Tracy Reeves is going to walk and I think that is wrong. The prosecution struck a pretty deal with her for testifying against Michael and they are not going to budge with it either. It is not fair to the victims families that she get a slap on the wrist because she testified against Michael. She was more involved than what she stated and she was not at all afraid of Michael. If anything, she was the instigator. Also, the evidence that the prosecution put on trial with the exception of the gun, was false. It was stuff that Tracy gave them. The real evidence is still out there that will prove Tracy is more involved, but the Prosecution and the investigator will not go get it. How wrong is that. Tracy goes before the Judge on May 1st and something needs to be done for the families sake to prove this.

Since: Apr 07

Crewe Va

#10 Apr 17, 2007
Wanda Young wrote:
Ms. J
I'm sorry to ask this, but I am curious. Are you a reporter for a newspaper?
Thanks for the idea, I decided to be an editor thanks to you! lol This page reallllly needed it.
Wanda

Mineral, VA

#11 Apr 18, 2007
lol....you will do a great job!!!!! If my plans work out, you will have quite a bit to "publish". Since the local papers will not print my story of how Mayo Gravatt put on "false evidence", I have went a little higher.

Since: Apr 07

Crewe Va

#12 Apr 20, 2007
Wanda wrote:
lol....you will do a great job!!!!! If my plans work out, you will have quite a bit to "publish". Since the local papers will not print my story of how Mayo Gravatt put on "false evidence", I have went a little higher.
Feel free to email me with whatever you got, I'll be happy to post it.
Starr Gelbhaar

Charlottesville, VA

#13 Apr 27, 2007
I was an inmate keppt by tracy reeves, and I think she is innocent.
ms j wrote:
<quoted text>
Feel free to email me with whatever you got, I'll be happy to post it.

Since: Apr 07

Crewe Va

#14 Apr 27, 2007
Why do you think she's innocent?
Wanda

Mineral, VA

#15 Apr 27, 2007
Yes please do share why you would think she is innocent. Usually people who get locked up always cry that they are innocent. You may have been locked up next to her, but you don't know her.
Truth

United States

#16 Jun 5, 2007
You are all right they both should get the same sentence, they are both cold blooded murderers and should have been executed by now, the only thing they both will be now is a burden on us law abiding taxpayers.
Wanda

Chase City, VA

#17 Jul 27, 2007
It has been 4 months since Michael's trial and conviction and I have to say things are still so very painful and hard to accept. But I would like to take this moment and say that my heart goes out to the Johnson and Ryder families. I did not know Curtis Johnson but I had the pleasure of meeting his family members and I have to say they were very nice and decent people who did not deserve what happened to their loved one. I did know Donnie Ryder and loved him as a brother. He was always good to me and my family and he will forever be in my heart. The Ryder family did not deserve this to happen to their loved one either. Even though Michael is my brother, I still have a hard time accepting what has happened. I keep the victims in my thoughts and prayers as well as their families. May God bring peace to all of you.
Truth

United States

#18 Jul 27, 2007
Very well said and I commend you for that. Not only did they make victims of the family's of the murder victims, but also their own family's, it is so unfair for decent people like you and your mother to have to suffer for something a family member did that you have no control over. I guess the only thing you can do is support them and hope for the best. May God bless you and your family and maybe you can have some peace now.
Chop II

AOL

#19 Jul 30, 2007
No offense to anyone talking of the Hancock case, but there are things people don't know about Mike. As well as many sides to that Tracey that people went out of the way to hide!
Mike was portrayed as a monster, Tracey an innocent victim. Mike was slandered before during and after, Tracey was just commented on. No one heard the truth of either of them. The good and some unfortunate of Mike's life from situations beyond his control OR the bad and evil of Tracey's doings in life by her own choosing. But what can we do? Mike's gone for good, Tracey will be home in a few years to carry on with her pathetic self. Anger, yes, I'm full of it. I'm not denying Mike's part in this but he did not act alone. She should have equal even a bit more punishment she planned who would be victims, both of her association. Now I have to sit and see my family in pain as she comes home to her family but Mike will never come back to us.
Chris

Rochester, MN

#20 Dec 13, 2007
Starr Gelbhaar wrote:
I was an inmate keppt by tracy reeves, and I think she is innocent.<quoted text>
Do u truly believe her innocent???...please what makes you believe that?..I am not calling you a liar at all, I just really want to hear your reasoning as I was once very close to her...and do plz tell me how she was when u saw her...

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