Teen sentenced to 40 years in prison for murder of Chesterfield store owner

Teen sentenced to 40 years in prison for murder of Chesterfield store owner
Trayvon M. Wilhite (Source: NBC12)

CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) - A Chesterfield teen will spend the next four decades in prison for killing a well-known convenience store owner.

19-year-old Trayvon Wilhite learned his fate Tuesday afternoon for the robbery and murder of Harshad Patel, who managed and worked The Marketplace #21 on Walmsley Boulevard.

The Marketplace #21 is under new ownership almost a year after Harshad Patel was found gunned down inside.

"The guy was so nice," says Bernard Branch, who knew Patel and works at the barbershop next door. "He looked out for a lot of people."

Branch and Eric Morton work at the barbershop next door. They just heard that Patel's shooter, Trayvon Wilhite, will spend the next 40 years behind bars.

"I don't have no sympathy for him," says Branch. "I mean he shouldn't have done it."

Wilhite was arrested along with his now 15-year-old brother, Tyquise, who is being tried as an adult, and another teenager, 18-year-old Thomas Jennings III.

"They misguided," says Morton. "There's a lot of them out here that's just misguided."

The shooting happened in January. Prosecutors say Trayvon Wilhite told detectives it was a robbery that went wrong. He claimed he was high on LSD when it happened.

Customers flooded the store after the shooting. They left flowers and held a vigil. Months later, thoughts are with Patel's family.

"I wish them a good life," says Branch. "All of them. It should have never happened."

Wilhite will be close to 60 years old when he is released from prison.

"Forty years is a long time, but it's not like he can get his life back," says Morton. "He made an adult decision, so he had to pay the price for it."

Tyquise and Jennings are still waiting for their trial. They also face murder and attempted robbery charges.

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