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Man gets 25 years in prison for killing of friend at party / September 13, 2021

A South Boston man has been sentenced to an active term of 25 years in prison for the murder of a friend at a Huell Matthews Highway residence in March 2020.

Darrin Lamont Crawley, 32, pleaded guilty earlier this year to killing Travis Leon Hughes, described as his best friend, at a party on March 29, 2020. The party was to celebrate the birthday of Crawley’s wife, at the home of a relative on U.S. 501-S.

At his sentencing hearing on Friday, Circuit Judge Kim S. White ordered Crawley to serve 40 years in prison for second degree murder, with 20 years suspended. The judge also sentenced Crawley to five more years behind bars on a pair of related firearms charges, raising his total active sentence to 25 years.

Hughes, the murder victim, was shot five times in the morning hours during the party. He died a short time later after being transported by private vehicle to the Sentara Halifax Regional Hospital emergency room.

The cause of the altercation, said Commonwealth’s Attorney Tracey Q. Martin, was a broken speaker — a “senseless” act, she added.

“For the defendant to draw his weapon and shoot into a crowd of friends and relatives, as he claimed, was senseless,” said Martin. “For him to have shot Travis Hughes in the back of his body five times was senseless.”

In testimony Friday, Crawley expressed remorse for the killing, but White rejected his plea for a shorter prison term in favor of 25 years that Crawley will spend behind bars. Crawley will further be required to be of good behavior for 40 years.

“The sentence of 25 years was above the high end of the sentencing guidelines. I am pleased that the judge saw fit to impose it; and in speaking with the family, I believe they are as well,” said Martin.

Hughes, the victim, leaves behind four small children, the oldest of whom is nine.

“No prison sentence can take away the heartache that Travis Hughes’ family feels,” said Martin. “They lost their loved one due to senseless violence.”

Crawley has been incarcerated since his arrest in late March 2020 for Hughes’ death. Prior to the slaying, he had had minor scrapes with the law, with arrests for trespassing, assault and battery and other offenses.

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