Pictured: Tyvon Smith

By Linda Cicoira

The Bloods street gang, estimated six years ago to have 40 to 60 members on the Eastern Shore of Virginia, appears to still be wreaking havoc locally as two known members, previously acquitted of murder in separate incidents, were indicted by an Accomack grand jury earlier this month on violent offenses.

Thirty-five-year-old Robert James (R.J.) Northan Jr., of Parksley, was indicted on counts of attempted first-degree murder, attempted second-degree murder, malicious wounding, two counts of use of a firearm in a felony, and possession of a gun by a felon in connection a March 2020 shooting on Tyler Lane in Accomac.

According to testimony at the preliminary hearing, the victim was bleeding and waiting to go to the hospital when he told Sheriff Todd Wessells that Northan had shot him. Another officer and rescue workers overheard the conversation.

Northan was arrested a month later for the alleged crimes by the U.S. Marshal’s Fugitive Task Force. An agency announcement identified Northan as a Bloods’ member.

Northan was acquitted in Accomack Circuit Court in 2016 for the 2015 murder of 47-year-old Ronnie Washington, whose body was found on the side of the street at the intersection of Bear Town and Metompkin roads.

Robert Northan, Jr.

Robert Northan, Jr.

A judge acquitted him because of inconsistences in the case. The murder weapon, a 9mm Glock, was never recovered. There was no DNA, fingerprint, or other physical evidence to link Northan to the crimes. An eyewitness said he was with Washington and Northan before the murder and had pulled over so the other two could get out and urinate along the country road. The men went behind the vehicle where the shooting took place. The witness heard five or six shots. After about a 25-second delay, Northan got back in the car and directed him to drive away.

When police initially questioned the witness, he denied knowing anything about the crimes. Several versions of the story followed.

In another case, 27-year-old self-proclaimed Bloods leader Tyvon Lyncurtis Smith, also known as Teddie, was indicted on felony counts of possession or transportation of a weapon by a violent felon, escape from the custody of a police officer, and stealing property that belonged to Trooper Autry. The incidents occurred Jan. 12, 2020.

Smith was released from prison in June 2019 when the Court of Appeals of Virginia overturned an Accomack Circuit Court jury’s decision that in 2017 sent him to prison for 30 years for crimes that occurred in 2013. The convictions of inducing someone to commit perjury, participating in gang activity, and soliciting an arson to keep witnesses from testifying against him were reversed and annulled by three judges.

Initially, Smith and another Bloods member were accused of shooting at a house in Rolling Acres causing the inhabitants to duck for cover. A young woman, who said she was riding in the car with Smith and others, testified at a preliminary hearing, but she could not be found when Smith went to trial. Two others got “amnesia” and couldn’t recall what happened and the charges were dropped against both men.

Smith had 14 convictions as a juvenile. When he was 18, he was charged in connection with the shooting death of a Guatemala native, who was waiting for a ride to work near Parksley. The first murder trial for Smith resulted in a hung jury. At the second trial, he was acquitted when a judge said he could not convict based on the testimony of a co-defendant.

Not long after Smith got out of prison, he was charged with driving 102 mph in a 55-mph zone that just happened to be on Route 13 in front of the state police barracks. He was sentenced to 102 days in jail with 90 days suspended. Smith driver’s license was suspended for six months and he was fined $1,100.

Smith and Northan are being held in Accomack Jail.