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Virginia man receives third conviction related to 2022 string of murders

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A jury convicted a 32-year-old man for first-degree murder and using a firearm in the commission of a murder for shooting and killing Downing Dujuan McLean in Norfolk in 2022.

Cola Winborne Beale IV was also convicted for two aggravated murders in Virginia Beach from a connected string of killings in 2022.

According to court records, on March 28, 2022, the Norfolk Police special operations team was assisting Virginia Beach Police with executing a search warrant on an apartment at 3044 Sewells Point Road when officers found McLean deceased inside the unit.

During the investigation of two other murders committed in Virginia Beach in the days prior to McLean’s death, detectives developed Beale as a suspect.

Beale was arrested in Hampton on March 30, 2022, and Beale provided a full confession to Norfolk and Virginia Beach investigators to the three murders, including McLean, that he had committed in the week prior to his arrest.

Beale shot McLean once in his mouth and once in his back and left McLean to die. McLean had been dead for at least two days before his body was discovered by police.

Beale said during his confession that he shot McLean because he considered McLean to be a liability, as McLean was knowledgeable of the previous murders Beale committed.

After nearly two hours of deliberation, a Norfolk jury found Beale guilty as charged of first-degree murder and using a firearm in the commission of murder in McLean’s death.

Beale is set for sentencing before Judge Jamilah D. LeCruise on Aug. 23.

On March 20, 2024, a Virginia Beach jury also found Beale guilty of two counts of aggravated murder as well as eight other felonies related to those murders committed before Beale fatally shot McLean.

Beale is set for sentencing on those 10 charges in Virginia Beach on July 2.

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.