RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – A jury has recommended the man responsible for the year's first murder in Shockoe Bottom spend 25 years in prison. 21-year-old Kevin Cunningham was convicted Monday of the second degree murder of Jeremy Uzzle outside the Have a Nice Day Cafe.
In December, a judge will decide whether to uphold the jury's sentence at a hearing. The murder set off a string of events leading to a new ordinance approved by city council last month.
Have a Nice Day Cafe's General Manager Jesse Nicholson poured over that new city ordinance with NBC12 Monday. It's been in the works since the April murder of Jeremy Uzzle brought a spotlight on security inside and around Richmond nightclubs.
"It's very frustrating," Nicholson said. "Even something that doesn't have anything to do with us is going to affect our business, as well as everybody else's down here."
Those businesses are now required to have the newly-created dance hall permit, which establishes rules for owning and operating a club and penalties for not complying with security procedures.
They are changes you will see the moment you walk up to a club entrance in the number of police officers at the door and security personnel inside.
"We will do everything that we need to do and the police will do everything that they need to do to make sure that everybody that comes out is safe and stays safe," Nicholson explained.
You'll also notice staggered exit times coordinated among police and the three major nightclubs in the area.
Have a Nice Day Cafe is the first to go letting out its customers around 1:40 in the morning. Vision goes next, closing its doors five or ten minutes later and Posh is last, letting out its crowds just before 2 a.m.
The biggest change is the teeth behind the ordinance. Now the city has ammunition to come after clubs that aren't following the rules. Criminal charges could also be filed for not complying with the new law Nicholson hopes revocation of the permit is incentive for the industry to maintain safety.
"We don't want anything like this to ever happen again," he said.
There is an application deadline for existing clubs. It is a 60 day grace period from the time the ordinance was passed. That means businesses have about another month to get their paperwork to City Hall.