Mother of Murder Victim 'Overwhelmed' by Guilty Verdict

Timothy Irving

Lynchburg, VA - The mother of a Lynchburg man murdered at the Millwoods Apartments says she never got to say good-bye.

Almost a year and a half later, a judge ruled Dennis Watts Jr. is guilty of murder, burglary, attempted robbery, abduction and four gun charges.

He faces up to three life sentences plus 28 years in prison.

Prosecutors says Watts stood guard while Raheem Johnson shot Timothy Irving in front of his 2-year-old son and fiancee.

Hannah Regent says she's looking forward to putting the trials behind her so she can begin to heal.

"It's something that I don't wish on anybody," she said, sitting next to her mother and one of Irving's childhood friends.

Regent has sat through two murder trials, but she still manages to smile when she thinks about her son.

"Timmy was quiet but funny. He kept people laughing," she recalls.

Prosecutors say Raheem Johnson and Watts were looking for drugs or money when they stormed into Timothy Irving's apartment. They yelled, 'Give it up, give it up,' before shooting Irving once in the forehead.

"I would love to ask them, why? Why him?" Regent said after Watts' guilty verdict.

DNA, eyewitness testimony, and a text message from Watts's own phone led to his murder conviction.

Chuck Felmlee prosecuted both cases. Watts and Johnson face multiple life sentences at their hearings scheduled for next month.

"We'll be asking both judges to impose very significant sentences if not the maximum sentences on both of these co-defendants," Felmlee said after Tuesday's verdict.

Irving's mother, who plans to testify at both sentencings, still lives with her own regret.

"That was the only night that I didn't call my son before I closed my eyes," she recalls of the night he was killed.

Little Tayson is three now and looks just like his father.

"His legacy lives on through Tay and he's a true blessing," Regent said.

Raheem Johnson is scheduled to be sentenced on September 14. Watts will learn his fate one week later.