VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. – Alphonso White, 27, and his brother, 19-year-old Michael A. Johnson, originally from Starkville, Mississippi, were found shot to death inside the Rally’s restaurant at 845 Lynnhaven Parkway in Virginia Beach on January 8, 2013. White was a manager working late at the restaurant and Johnson came by after shopping at Lynnhaven Mall to pick up his brother after work.
A delivery driver for the restaurant found Johnson shot to death in the doorway at 2 AM and called 911. When the police arrived at the scene, they discovered the second body which was White in the restaurant’s office. Rally’s general manager said the store closes at midnight. The exact time of the shootings is unclear.
In March 2012, White and his fiancee came to Virginia Beach for a fresh start. White had gotten his GED and was thinking about starting college. Johnson and his mother moved to Virginia Beach to help Haynes and White with their son who was born seven weeks premature in October. Their mother returned to Mississippi, but Johnson stayed.
Johnson leaves behind a baby daughter in Missouri. While his brother, White leaves behind three children, two daughters in Illinois and a 2 1/2-month-old son, Alphonso White, Jr. with his fiancee, Jessica Haynes. Haynes plans to make sure their son knows about his father. “I’m just going to tell him the way his father was,” Haynes said.
Haynes said that family and friends have been supportive after the tragic shootings. Mourners, including the victims’ family and friends held a vigil outside of the Rally’s restaurant Thursday night (Jan. 10). They paid homage to the victims by lighting candles, releasing balloons and signing posters.
Updated August 28, 2016
On Friday, January 8, Deandre Dunnaway, 22, and Cheari Asia-Na Edwards, 19, were arrested for the murders of White and Johnson. Police said the two are boyfriend and girlfriend, and robbery was the motive.
The couple had planned the robbery and the murders. It is believed that the couple were desperate for money because Edwards was pregnant at the time. On January 7, the couple finished their shifts and methodically waited outside for midnight when White would be counting the daily intake of the restaurant.
After midnight, Dunnaway rushed inside alone to the back of the restaurant where the office was and immediately shot White in the head. He let Edwards in through the back door. Unconcerned about the White’s lifeless body slouched over in the chair, Edwards collects the money soaked in White’s blood from off the desk, puts it inside a sandwich bag and stores it in her purse.
Johnson knocked on the door. Dunnaway opened it. He realizes what’s happening and offers them the money out of his pocket. They take the money and Dunnaway shot Johnson in the head too. The couple left the two brothers for dead. The couple got away with $1100.
Dunnaway and Edwards were charged with two counts of murder, three counts of use of a firearm, and armed robbery and conspiracy. Dunnaway had a previous criminal record. He had embezzlement and drug charges. However, Edwards had no previous criminal record.
White and Haynes were friends with the suspects. Both were employed at the same Rally’s restaurant as White and his fiancee. Dunnaway and Edwards spent nights at their apartment playing cards. In fact, White and Haynes would give the couple rides to work. In October 2012, the couple spent the night at the hospital with White as he waited to hear about his son who was born with Gastroschisis, a serious medical condition that caused him to be born with his intestines, bladder and testicles on the outside of his stomach.
When Haynes heard that the couple was arrested for her fiance’s murder, she admitted she was surprised. They also spent the night at the hospital with White when his fiancee’ Haynes had complications with her pregnancy and later spent Thanksgiving with them.
Funeral arrangements are being made for White and Johnson in their hometown of Mississippi where their parents live.
Rally’s spokeswoman, Kim Francis said the restaurant will remain closed as of now. “We are shocked and devastated by the circumstances of this tragedy. Our hearts are broken for the victims’ mother, fiancee, and the rest of their loved ones, and we are grieving as a Rally’s family. We continue to fully cooperate with the police in their investigation in any way we can.” The restaurant is permanently closed.
Edwards was sentenced to 47 years in prison, while Dunnaway plead guilty to capital murder and is currently serving life without parole.