U.S. Department of Justice
United States Attorney
Eastern District of Virginia
Eastern District of Virginia
For Immediate Release
April 20, 2011
Neil H. MacBride, United States Attorney
Contact: Margaret Jahn, Public Information Officer
Newport News Man Convicted of Murdering Hardee’s Employee
NEWPORT NEWS, Va. — Anthony Lee Wainwright, 26, of Newport News, Va., was convicted by a federal jury of murdering an employee of a Newport News Hardee’s restaurant during an armed robbery. Two conspirators – Henry Lee Stapleton, 24, and Michael Johnson Jr., 23, — previously pled guilty to their roles in the robbery and fatal shooting.
Neil H. MacBride, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; Rich Marianos, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ (ATF) Washington Field Division; and James D. Fox, Chief of Newport News Police, made the announcement after the jury returned the verdict before United States District Judge Rebecca Beach Smith.
Anthony Wainwright brutally murdered a hard–working employee of Hardees Restaurant, whose life centered around her love of both her job and her church. That Wainwright killed Diane Green because she recognized Wainwright from her beloved church makes this killing even more loathsome, said U.S. Attorney MacBride.
No prosecution can take back the events of that day, but we hope today’s conviction will provide some measure of closure for Ms. Green’s family.
Thanks to the hard work of the dedicated ATF agents and Newport News detectives, those responsible for this murder were brought to justice, said ATF Acting SAC Marianos.
We too hope that this verdict brings some closure to the Green family. It’s never easy to lose a loved one this way.
This incident shocked the community to its roots and this outcome is another positive example of the partnership, teamwork and commitment of our community, local and federal law enforcement, the Commonwealth’s Attorneys Office and the US Attorney’s Office to fight for justice, said Chief Fox of the Newport News Police Department.
According to the evidence introduced at trial, on Sept. 8, 2007, Wainwright and Stapleton entered a Hardee’s restaurant with firearms intending to commit a robbery. After robbing the employees of money in the cash registers, Wainwright’s do–rag slipped down and revealed his face. Worried he could be identified because he knew the victim from church, Wainwright shot Diane Green one time in the back of the head killing her. Wainwright also injured a second employee who fled from the restaurant. Wainwright and Stapleton fled on foot and were later picked up by Johnson from a location near the Hardee’s restaurant. The three returned to a room at the American Tudor Inn, where they divided up approximately $150 stolen in the robbery.
Today, after five days of testimony from 25 witnesses and the admission of 70 exhibits, a jury found Wainwright guilty of conspiracy to commit robbery, weapons violations, murder with a firearm in relation to a crime of violence and killing of a witness to prevent communication to law enforcement. He faces a maximum penalty of life in prison when he is sentenced on July 22, 2011.
Stapleton pled guilty on Jan. 11, 2011, to interference with commerce by robbery, discharge of a firearm during a crime of violence, and murder with a firearm in relation to a crime of violence and will be sentenced on May 12, 2011. Johnson pled guilty on April 12, 2011, to conspiracy to obstruct, delay and affect commerce by robbery, discharge of a firearm during a crime of violence, murder with a firearm in relation to a crime of violence, and retaliating against a witness. Johnson also pled guilty to a separate indictment charging him with a robbery of the Miller Mart that took place in June, 2006. He will be sentenced on all convictions on July 21, 2011.
This case was investigated by the Newport News Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Assistant United States Attorney’s Howard Zlotnick, Lisa McKeel and Brian J. Samuels, prosecuted the case on behalf of the United States.
A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia at www.justice.gov/usao/vae. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia at http://www.vaed.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.uspci.uscourts.gov.