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Press Release

Man Sentenced to 45 Years for 2009 Newport News Murder

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Virginia

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. – A Williamsburg man was sentenced today to 45 years in prison for his leadership role in the 2009 murder of Louis Joseph Jr., in Newport News.

Mark Xavier Wallace, 37, was convicted following a jury trial on April 17, along with co-defendants Joseph James Cain Benson, of Boston, and Bryan Lamar Brown, of Newport News.

“We will remain steadfast in our fight against violent crime in Tidewater and are increasing our resources as we speak,” said G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia. “Wallace was the leader of a crew that brutally murdered Louis Joseph in his home in 2009. Today’s sentence reflects what happens to those commit heinous crimes of violence. This case is a quintessential example of law enforcement partnerships coming together to fight the scourge of drug violence. I want to thank the prosecutors who brought this matter to trial, the FBI, and the Newport News Police Department for their outstanding work on this difficult case.”

According to court documents, Louis Joseph was beaten and shot multiple times at his Denbigh home while he babysat a five-year-old child. Wallace organized the home invasion and recruited Benson and another individual who traveled from Boston to Williamsburg to commit the home invasion of Louis Joseph to obtain money and drugs. Brown transported the co-defendants to Joseph’s house and also supplied the two firearms to commit the murder. Benson and at least one other man entered the home of Joseph, beat him and shot him multiple times during the robbery.

Benson was sentenced to life in prison on July 24. Brown was sentenced to 45 years in prison on July 19.

This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. Attorney General Jeff Sessions reinvigorated PSN in 2017 as part of the Department’s renewed focus on targeting violent criminals, directing all U.S. Attorney’s Offices to work in partnership with federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement and the local community to develop effective, locally-based strategies to reduce violent crime.

G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, Martin Culbreth, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Norfolk Field Office, and Steve R. Drew, Chief of Newport News Police, made the announcement after sentencing by U.S. District Judge Raymond A. Jackson. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Lisa R. McKeel and Howard J. Zlotnick prosecuted the case.

A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. Related court documents and information is located on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 4:17-cr-45.


Joshua Stueve
Director of Communications

Updated August 6, 2018

Drug Trafficking
Firearms Offenses
Project Safe Neighborhoods
Violent Crime