CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WAVY) — Nearly two years after the fatal shooting and robbery, one of the three suspects in the case faced a jury.
The trial for Tonagee Ravenel began in a Chesapeake Circuit Courtroom Monday morning. The jury was seated and opening arguments were heard before 1 p.m.
Ravenel is one of three facing multiple charges in the fatal shooting of 30-year-old Stephanie Brainerd on March 14, 2019.
Ravenel, Antonio Britton and Semiya Davidson had been charged with first-degree murder, robbery, conspiracy to commit robbery, and use of a firearm in the commission of a felony in connection to the incident. Ravenel is the first to go to trial.
During brief opening statements, the Commonwealth revealed details about what they believe happened the night of March 14, 2019.
Prosecutors say the robbery of the Chanello’s delivery driver was premeditated. They say Britton shot Brainerd 6 times while Ravenel took the food out of her delivery car. They also say Davidson was the one who called in the order to Chanello’s and led Chesapeake Police on a chase into Portsmouth.
Prosecutors told 10 On Your Side they’re expecting to have 15 witnesses throughout the duration of the trial.
Ravenel’s defense attorney says the commonwealth’s star witness, Davidson, is not reliable. The defense argues that Davidson gave investigators two different stories of what happened the night of the shooting and robbery.
Six Chesapeake police officers took the stand Monday, from those who responded to the scene, to those who apprehended the three suspects at two different scenes in two cities.
Five different officers first testified about how they apprehended the three suspects.
It all started when an officer heard gunshots near the Marina Point Apartments. Other officers responded as the first officer got to the apartments and saw a silver SUV leaving the complex quickly.
Officers began a pursuit of the silver vehicle, which turned out to be a silver Toyota Highlander. At one point, the car slowed down and one of the suspects, Britton, fled the vehicle and ran. Two officers pursued him, while others followed the vehicle. After following him into a residential area near a swampy area along a waterway, police apprehended Britton.
The other officers followed Davidson and Ravenel on a 10 to 15-minute pursuit into Portsmouth. Body camera video from the officers played in the courtroom.
Davidson drove the vehicle, ignoring officers’ calls to stop multiple times, until she finally did stop at a 7-Eleven off of Airline Boulevard.
In the SUV, officers found Davidson’s eight-month-old child, a gun in the child’s diaper bag, a gun magazine on the floor, shell casings, and a pizza delivery bag.
Officers Mirandized them on body camera video and took them into custody.
The last to take the stand was a Chesapeake police officer, who was the first on the scene at the apartments the night the robbery and fatal shooting took place.
The officer testified on the stand today, saying he recognized the 30-year-old when he found her deceased in her car. He said she worked part-time at a 7-Eleven he would stop at while out on his patrols.
He secured the scene and also found shell casings around her vehicle. Prosecutors played body camera video and showed crime scene photos from that night. The front driver’s and passenger side doors were wide open.
The case picks up Tuesday morning at 9. Davidson, who’s expected to appear as a witness for the commonwealth, could take the stand as early as Tuesday.