81 years of combined prison time handed down for shooting that claimed Atlee student


The drug deal gone bad that killed a local teenager has resulted in a combined 81 years of prison time for the three guilty parties.

Hanover Circuit Court ruled Feb. 25 that Kevin Drayton Jr., Xavia Highsmith and Da’Von Byars will serve 27 years each for the shooting

death of Brett Wells during a botched Jan. 21, 2012 drug transaction. The trio was charged with first-degree murder, malicious wounding, conspiring to commit a robbery and two related gun charges.

They had been found guilty during an earlier Oct. 23, 2012 hearing. At that time, Chief Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney Shari L.


Skipper had argued for the maximum sentencing guidelines, pointing out the premeditated nature of the crimes.


Drayton, Byars and Highsmith had planned to purchase four ounces of marijuana from Wells for $1,330. During a late-April 2012 preliminary hearing, a Hanover Sheriff’s Office investigator told the court that the trio arrived at Wells’ Mechanicsville home with no intention of paying for the drugs, pointing out they had purchased a weapon in Richmond’s Fairfield Court public housing complex prior to the robbery attempt.

Once Highsmith and Byars were inside Wells’ home, a scuffle ensued resulting in a single, fatal gunshot wound to Wells’ chest fired by Highsmith. Another shot, fired as they exited the residence, wounded Aaron Evans, a friend of Wells’. Drayton, formerly a stand-out athlete at Atlee High School, acted as wheelman during the botched heist.

Posted on Tuesday, February 26, 2013 at 10:48 am