Ex-Security Guard Gets 30-Years For Killing Grandpa Playing 'Pokémon Go'

A security guard in Virginia who killed a 60-year-old grandfather playing Pokémon Go while sitting in his minivan in 2017 has been sentenced to 30 years in prison.

Johnathan Cromwell, 24, was convicted by a jury of second-degree murder and use of a firearm in the death of 60-year-old Jianshen Chen in early March. Circuit Judge John Brown sentenced the 24-year-old to 30 years in prison - the recommended sentence handed down by jurors earlier this year. Jurors could have recommended up to 43-years for Cromwell.

Chen was fatally shot in January 2017 after pulling his minivan into the Riverwalk Clubhouse parking area to play the popular video game on his phone, court documents revealed. Prosecutors say Chen, who lived at his brother's house in the neighborhood, had been playing the augmented reality game on his phone at the time when he was shot.

Cromwell, who had been working as a security guard for Citywide Protection Services for about two months at the time, testified Chen's vehicle had been moving when he shot at Chen in self-defense. However, prosecutors undercut that claim by pointing out that broken glass was found beneath the van's shot-out windows.

Cromwell's attorney told The Virginia-Pilot that he planned to appeal the case.

“We believe there are a number of very serious issues in this case that require appellate review,” said Cromwell's defense attorney, Andrew Sacks.

Jiansheng Chen Trust Fund

After Cromwell was sentenced on Monday, Commonweath's Attorney Nancy Parr said justice was served in the case.

"I hope this does bring some closure to them," said Parr.

Chen is survived by his two children and three grandchildren. His family set up a GoFundMe fundraiser to assist with expenses relating to Chen's death with any remaining funds dispersed to other victim's families like their own.

Photo: Chesapeake Sheriff's Office and GoFundMe

Michael Savage

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