VB man charged with trying to kill detective during child porn bust convicted on all charges; jury recommends life sentence

Virginia Beach

He was sentenced on Tuesday to life plus 1,248 years in prison.

VIRGINIA BEACH (WAVY) — A jury needed little more than an hour Monday afternoon to convict Bryan Cage, 50, of attempted capital murder, possession of a massive cache of child porn and shooting inside an occupied building among other charges after a six-day trial.

A jury recommended a sentenced on Tuesday of life plus 1,248 years and 30 days in prison. A judge will formally sentence Cage on Aug. 16.

Cage testified in his own defense earlier in the day Monday, saying he thought he was about to be robbed when a team of police officers was serving arrest and search warrants four years ago at his apartment on Ohio Avenue in Virginia Beach.

Cage had been the focus of a child pornography investigation by city police and Department of Homeland Security agents for nearly a year when the officers knocked on a downstairs door around 6:30 a.m. June 13, 2017 and announced the warrant. They then knocked the door in with a battering ram. The team of six climbed a cluttered and dark stairwell to a locked interior door that led to Cage’s living area.

Lead Detective Ryan Sweeney, then 29 years old, forced his way through the second door with the help of another detective. Sweeney testified last week that as he turned right to enter the living area, he saw a rifle’s muzzle flash and felt his right arm go numb.

Sweeney was struck by two bullets from Cage’s M6 semi-automatic rifle. Evidence and testimony from forensics and crime recreation experts would link that weapon to the holes in the right shoulder strap of Sweeney’s tactical vest, as well as his shoulder wounds.

Sweeney testified that parts of the bullets remain in his shoulder after two bones were broken. He is now medically retired from Virginia Beach police and has limited use of his right arm.

Cage is a U.S. Army veteran and collected guns. Investigators seized about a hundred weapons from his home, and Cage testified that one of his rooms was “floor to ceiling with guns, ammo and knives”. He said he used “80 mm ammo cans as end tables”.

Cage said he did not know police were serving a warrant and never heard them announce themselves, which was contradicted by the testimony of several officers, as well as federal agents and computer forensic technicians who were at the scene.

Cage told the jury he thought some “teenaged gang-bangers” were trying to rob him of his guns so he shot in self-defense.

Prosecutors showed the jury 12 computers and storage devices that held more than 15,000 images and videos of child pornography. They mentioned that Cage used search terms that related to hardcore pornography that involved children under the age of 10.

Police also seized several large marijuana plants which Cage claimed was “birdseed.” Prosecutors said he had five and a half pounds of marijuana growing.

Cage was convicted of the following: attempted capital murder of a law enforcement officer, aggravated malicious wounding, two counts of using a gun while committing a felony, 39 counts of shooting inside an occupied building, 100 counts of possession of child pornography, and possession of marijuana.

Virginia Beach Police Chief Paul Neudigate released a statement on Cage’s sentencing Tuesday night.

“What started with numerous hours of detailed detective work to obtain a search warrant to retrieve massive amounts of child pornography resulted in the attempted murder of one of our officers. We are extremely fortunate that the detective in this incident survived his life altering injuries and we are extremely grateful to the Office of the Commonwealth Attorney who prosecuted this case and the empaneled jurors who found him guilty on all counts.”

“I owe a great deal of gratitude to all involved in holding Mr. Cage accountable for his horrendous crimes against children, the most innocent of our victims, and the attempted homicide of one of our guardians sworn to protect this community. I thank the jury, who with their recommended sentenced, has sent the message that attacks on law enforcement in Virginia Beach will not be tolerated.”

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