Late last week, a Buchanan County jury recommended that Travis Wade Spence, 45, of Grundy Virginia spend the rest of his natural life in prison. Spence had been previously found guilty of First-Degree Murder and Obstruction of Justice by a different Buchanan County jury.
According to Buchanan County Commonwealth’s Attorney Gerald Arrington, Spence was previously found guilty of those charges in 2009 during the Tamara Neo administration. As a result of an error that was committed during the sentencing portion of that trial, Spence was awarded a new trial in 2017.
Pursuant to Virginia’s sentencing statute, a Buchanan County jury was impaneled, heard the evidence that was presented during Spence’s original trial, and were instructed to recommend a sentence based on the evidence presented at trial, the testimony and evidence presented during the sentencing phase, and the argument of counsel.
The 2009 trial testimony of Investigator Eric Breeding and others was read to the jury. Witnesses had testified that on March 14, 2009, the officers responded to a homicide scene at a home just below Riverview Elementary School. Greg Brown was found lying next to the dining room table in a pool of blood. After interviewing the residents, it was determined that the men had been drinking and playing cards for much of the evening. Of the five men residing there, all but Spence and Brown went to bed.
During the 2009 trial, Ronnie Carter told jurors that he was awakened in the early morning hours. As he walked through the home, he saw Travis Spence standing near the body of Greg Brown. Spence asked Carter to help dispose of the body, and threatened Carter that if he told what had happened, Spence would kill Carter, as well as Carter’s mother and his children.