Martinsville Bulletin, Inc.
P. O. Box 3711
204 Broad Street
Martinsville, Virginia 24115
Toll Free: 800-234-6575
Prison term given in case of buried victim
Patrick Antonio Gilbert
Wednesday, August 22, 2012
By BULLETIN STAFF REPORTS -
One of three people charged in the case of a man whose body was found buried in a wooded area has been sentenced to five years of active prison time.
Patrick Antonio Gilbert, 39, of Bassett, was sentenced Aug. 15 in Henry County Circuit Court on two charges: conspiracy to commit murder and other felonies, and conceal evidence, said Henry County Clerk of Circuit Court Vickie Helmstutler.
On the conspiracy charge, Judge David V. Williams sentenced Gilbert to 10 years in prison, to serve five years, with five years suspended on five years of probation, 10 years of good behavior and to pay restitution to the victim’s family of $4,852.13, Helmstutler said.
On the conceal evidence charge, Williams sentenced Gilbert to five years in prison, with all five years suspended on the same conditions as in the conspiracy charge, Helmstutler said.
On June 14, Williams found Gilbert guilty of both charges and said he faced a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison for conspiracy and five years in prison for concealing evidence.
Gilbert initially was indicted on first-degree murder and other charges in connection with the death of Jason Lamont “B.G.” Miller, 26. Miller had been missing for about a month when his body was found in November 2010 buried off Penrose Drive, a dirt road in the Oak Level community.
Gilbert was arrested on first-degree murder and other charges shortly after Miller’s remains were discovered. In May, a special grand jury indicted him on two additional charges in the case: conspiracy to commit murder and concealing evidence.
In Henry County Circuit Court on June 14, Gilbert pleaded guilty to those two charges. As part of an agreement with prosecutors, the remaining charges against him — including first-degree murder — were dropped.
According to a summary of evidence presented by Henry County Commonwealth’s Attorney Bob Bushnell on June 14, Gilbert and two other men — Cory Sharon Thomas, 19, and Lavest Michael Whisenton, 24 — allegedly planned to rob Miller because Thomas believed Miller was getting too much profit from drug deals.
According to Bushnell’s account, Gilbert told police that Thomas and Whisenton talked about robbing Miller and discussed whether they should kill him. Gilbert got involved, and the three allegedly agreed that to rob Miller and leave him alive might result in retaliation, Bushnell said.
On the night of Oct. 22, 2010, Gilbert, Thomas, Whisenton and Miller spent time at Thomas’ home on Jarrett Drive in Bassett, Bushnell said. They later went to a mobile home on Penrose Drive that was known as a spot for drug dealing, Bushnell said.
According to Gilbert’s account, when they arrived at the mobile home, he ran to his dog, which he had left there. As he was reuniting with the animal, he heard a gunshot, Bushnell said.
Gilbert told investigators that when he turned around, he saw Miller lying on the ground. Thomas and Whisenton were standing over him, Gilbert told police, alleging that he then saw Whisenton fire a shot into Miller’s body, Bushnell said.
Whisenton was indicted in May on charges of conspiracy to commit murder and concealing evidence in connection with Miller’s death. Those charges are pending.
Gilbert told police that after Miller was killed, he stayed by the mobile home “basically as a lookout,” Bushnell said. Gilbert told police that Thomas and Whisenton allegedly dragged Miller’s body into the woods, took his money and other items, and buried his remains, the prosecutor said.
According to Bushnell, the grave, which was 3 feet deep, had been prepared earlier.
The concealing evidence charge against Gilbert stems from his role in making sure Miller’s body was concealed, Bushnell said.
When police filed the murder charge against Gilbert in November 2010, they also charged Thomas with Miller’s murder. Thomas, who was missing at that time, later was found buried in a shallow grave off Woodland Road in Bassett.
His death, which is considered a homicide, remains under investigation.