By Linda Cicoira
A young Onancock man, who was 17 when the crimes were committed, pleaded guilty to first-degree murder, attempted robbery, and related firearms charges Thursday in Accomack Circuit Court in connection with the shooting death of 23-year-old Nicholas Kyle Joseph, of Painter, in October 2021.
Nineteen-year-old Daniel David Douglas, of Market Street, admitted to the charges in an agreement with Commonwealth’s Attorney Spencer Morgan. In the agreement, Morgan dropped two conspiracy counts and a base-covering charge of second-degree murder. The prosecutor also set the maximum sentence at 20 years of active time. A minimum of three years each is required for use of a firearm in the murder and in the attempted robbery.
Douglas was tried as an adult. He also pleaded guilty to escaping from custody, which occurred when he was arrested while working at Perdue months later at a job that he had started a few days earlier.
Joseph was shot at least five times in the head, extremities, and chest while stopped in the middle of Johnson Street in Onancock, at about 3 p.m. on that Wednesday. The area is near the old carnival grounds. After being struck by gunfire, the victim’s car continued to move down the road and hit a pole at a nearby intersection. Police found it with the doors open. Joseph died at a hospital the next day.
Douglas was caught on tape near the shooting and was heard saying, “I’m going to my house.” Two other defendants were seen running towards the vehicle, getting in, and then leaving the scene before the car crashed.
Morgan said while Douglas did not shoot and was not in the vehicle, he “was part of the planning.” He supplied the two others with guns and was armed with what was described by Morgan as a “pistol version of an AK-47. Joseph was also armed.
The victim was alleged in court records to be a drug dealer. Large quantities of bagged marijuana, three guns, and spent casings, were found inside the car. Joseph’s cell phone was found during the autopsy. It had links to snapchat accounts that led investigators to a photo of Douglas with the AK-47 type gun.
Judge W. Revell Lewis III accepted the agreement and ordered a long-form presentence report. Douglas was remanded to jail to await sentencing set for Sept. 28. The defendant also gave up his rights regards unreasonable searches and seizures for up to five years after release.
Without the agreement, Douglas would have faced life plus 21 years and fines of up to $105,000.