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Public Safety, Virginia

Norfolk man sentenced to 32 years for shooting friend in head after night on the town

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A visit to a nightclub in Norfolk with friends turned deadly in 2022 when one of them, seemingly unprovoked, killed his friend, shooting him in the head.

Marco Jaime Hicks, 32, was sentenced on Friday after pleading guilty to the first-degree murder of his friend, 27-year-old Michael Isaac Rivera-Rubert.

On Dec. 4, 2023, Hicks pleaded guilty to first-degree murder. Judge Joseph C. Lindsey accepted Mr. Hicks’s plea with an agreed maximum sentence of 35 years.

On Friday, Judge Lindsey sentenced Hicks to serve 32 years of a 50-year prison sentence, with the suspended time conditioned upon uniform good behavior while incarcerated and completion of three years of supervised probation.

According to court documents, Hicks, Rivera-Rubert and several friends went to a nightclub on Sept. 3, 2022, parking their vehicles at an overflow parking lot in a strip mall in the 800 block of North Military Highway. At 2 a.m. on Sept. 4, the group returned to the strip mall parking lot.

Surveillance video of the parking lot showed the friends chatting with one another for about 20 minutes before Hicks walked across the lot to his vehicle, got a pistol, walked back up to Rivera-Rubert, put the pistol to Rivera-Rubert’s head, and shot him once, killing him almost instantly.

After Hicks shot and killed Rivera-Rubert, Hicks and the other individuals fled the scene in two vehicles.

A person who heard the gunshot from inside one of the strip mall businesses came out and tried to help Rivera-Rubert.

Norfolk Police arrived at the scene soon afterward and found Rivera-Rubert dead.

The subsequent investigation yielded videos from the strip mall and from a number of other local businesses depicting that evening.

The footage showed Hicks wearing the same clothing and bearing a distinctive tattoo of a rifle running vertically from the right side of his forehead down his cheek.

Norfolk Police arrested Hicks, who identified himself in some of the video but falsely claimed that another individual in the group shot and killed Rivera-Rubert.

“The act of murder is serious, and it is permanent,” said Commonwealth’s Attorney Ramin Fatehi. “Mr. Hicks took the victim away from his family forever.

“While this sentence does not bring back the victim, it holds Mr. Hicks accountable for the harm he has caused. My thoughts are with the victim and his family as they move forward.”

Senior Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Emily A. Woodley prosecuted Mr. Hicks’s case on behalf of the Commonwealth, and Norfolk Police Detectives Peter G. Kolb and Kyle D. Austin led the investigation.

Crystal Graham

Crystal Graham

Crystal Abbe Graham is the regional editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1999 graduate of Virginia Tech, she has worked for nearly 25 years as a reporter and editor for several Virginia publications, written a book, and garnered more than a dozen Virginia Press Association awards for writing and graphic design. She was the co-host of "Viewpoints," a weekly TV news show, and co-host of Virginia Tonight, a nightly TV news show. Her work on "Virginia Tonight" earned her a national Telly award for excellence in television.