NORFOLK, Va., (VEN) – Rayvon A. Messer Sr., 26, was arrested by Norfolk detectives on April 20, 2017 for killing his 4-year-old son, Rayvon Messer, Jr. He was charged with Second Degree Murder and Use of a Firearm in Commission of a Felony.
On April 19, 2017, Messer was watching his son Rayvon Jr. all afternoon and evening in the 9500 block of 19th Bay Street. Around 7:45 pm, there was a fatal gunshot fired directly into the chest of Rayvon Jr.
Messer picked up his son, rushed him to a neighbor’s house and told them to call 911. Meanwhile, Messer ran back to his house and hid his firearms in his backyard. When the police and ambulance arrived, Rayvon Jr. was sent to Sentara Norfolk General Hospital where he later died.
Messer told police that Rayvon Jr. was shot by two black men driving a gold car doing a drive-by. However, police believed that he was responsible.
During his bond hearing, Regis Rice, Messer’s attorney, admitted that he had lied about how his son was shot because he panicked. Later, he retracted his story.
The defense attorney claimed he told the truth by stating that his son shot himself while Messer went to take out the garbage. After hearing a gunshot from inside the home, he rushed back in and found his son shot.
Tommy Spencer, a friend of Messer’s and his fiancee’ brother, stated that he “made a bad decision – leaving his loaded handgun out with his 4-year-old alone in the apartment. He was so nervous. He didn’t want anyone to know he was the actual cause of his son dying,” Spencer said. “That’s his one really big mistake,” according to the PilotOnline.
Prosecutor Jill Harris, on the other hand, argued that the gunshot wound was not an accident based on the downward angle of it. Harris stated that “he would’ve had to hold the gun above and toward himself for the defense’s account to be true. He also would’ve had to climb up a recliner covered in clothes and reach to the back of a shelf in a closet to get the gun,” according to PilotOnline.
The Commonwealth’s Attorney Office contended that Messer was a hazard to the community and a flight risk.
Messer has a previous felony charge from 2014 for Reckless Handling of a Firearm. Additionally, he has a Possession of Marijuana charge he acquired in 2011 for which he failed to appear in court.
Rayvon Jr.’s death was declared a homicide by Donna Price, Regional Administrator at Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Norfolk.
Rice requested that Messer receive bond so that he could attend his son’s funeral. However, Harris insisted that Messer bond be denied. District Judge Joseph Massey denied the request. “Your son is going in the dirt, and you can’t be a part of that,” Angela Green (Rayvon’s grandmother) said. “I feel sorry for him.”
Messer was escorted out of the courtroom in tears and so was his family members that attended. However, they told him they still loved him.
Through his grief, Messer cursed the courtroom and the judicial system for making him miss his son’s funeral.
Rayvon Jr. would have turned five years old on May 12. R.I.P.
Messer will return to court on July 6 for a preliminary hearing.
Updated August 5, 2018
On February 15, 2018, Messer cried as he faced the judge again for charges associated with the death of his four year old son.
Previously, he was charged with second degree murder, but those charges were dropped during the Thursday hearing. Prosecutors decided to take another route and charge Messer with Felony Homicide and Felony Child Neglect.
The case was presented to a grand jury in March.
PilotOnline: 4-year-old shot himself by accident in Ocean View, father’s lawyer says. Prosecutor paints a darker picture.
13NewsNow.com: No bond for man accused of killing son; prosecutors: bullet angle suggests murder
13NewsNow.com: New charges suggest Norfolk dad’s alleged killing of son was accidental