UPDATE: More charges filed after teen murdered in Powhatan

Dennis Edward Merchant, Jr.
Dennis Edward Merchant, Jr.

By Tara Morgan - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander – email

POWHATAN, VA (WWBT) - The teen charged with murder after a fight in Powhatan left a man dead Thursday has had several new charges added after further investigations, county police said.

Dennis Edward Merchant Jr. appeared before the Powhatan General District Court for arraignment on charges of murder and malicious wounding.  He is being held without bond on these charges.  His next court date is on June 4.

Four more felony warrants have been obtained for Merchant, three warrants charging him with unlawful stab, cut or wound in the commission or attempted commission of a felony.  The fourth warrant charges Merchant with malicious wounding.

A third stabbing victim was also revealed, who police said has been treated and released from a local hospital with non life-threatening injuries.

Merchant was also stabbed in the chest during the incident.

Authorities have released the identity of the young man found dead outside a post office on Anderson Highway as Rashad Brown, 19.  The violence unfolded at a home in the 4700 block of Bell Road.

A long standing feud.  That's what some Powhatan residents say ended Brown's life. Parent Judith Simmons says her son tried to break up the fight.

"This is senseless. These young boys shouldn't be dying this way. It's really senseless," said Simmons.

Powhatan dispatchers received several 911 calls Thursday afternoon. One from the post office on Anderson Highway where Brown, who authorities say had been stabbed, was found in a car with a second stabbing victim who drove Brown there from a home on Bell Road. Simmons says one of the victim's fathers works at the post office.

"I guess they had called 911 in the process but felt it wouldn't get there in time. I guess they just panicked and got him in the car to someone who could help him," Simmons said.

Another emergency call came from Bell Road where authorities say gunshots also may have been fired.

"There was some type of altercation on Bell Road in Powhatan that has ended up in the death of one person," said Sheriff Greg Neal.

The home that authorities searched has a familiar name on the mail box, Taliaferro. Back in June 2008, popular teen Tahleik Taliaferro was shot and killed. The sheriff says he doesn't believe that crime is related to this latest violent outburst. Some of Taliaferro's friends were at the post office.

"There's tension and there's always going to be tension with a situation like that. I think this is really going to blow it out the water," said Simmons.

Authorities have not released a motive.

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