Pokemon Go murder case conviction ends in 30-year sentence

An infamous 2017 murder case has ended in conviction. The so-called Pokemon Go murder led to a 30-year prison sentence for the defendant Johnathan Cromwell, who was accused of murdering a man who was playing Pokemon Go in his car. The sentencing follows the 30-year recommended sentence from the jury upon Cromwell’s conviction.

On the evening of January 26, 2017, 60-year-old Jiansheng Chen was playing Pokemon Go outside of a clubhouse in Chesapeake Bay, Virginia. He was confronted by Cromwell, a security guard at the time, who proceeded to shoot Chen five times. The prosecution claimed that Chen was minding his own business and stopped at the clubhouse because it is an in-game Pokestop. The defense argued Chen was trespassing and had tried to run Cromwell over after being confronted. They said Cromwell had no choice but to shoot in self-defense after his life was threatened. However, the prosecutors painted a very different picture of Cromwell, describing him as “an aggressor who had an obsession with police and tried to act like an officer.” Cromwell was ultimately convicted of second-degree murder, which can be seen in the video below.

Cromwell could have faced up to 43 years in prison. Instead, he will serve the jury-recommended 27 years for the second-degree murder and a mandatory three years for a firearm charge. Cromwell will also be credited for time served, about two years.

Chen’s family had fought for a harsher sentence. According to reports by ABC 13 News Now, they want Chen to be remembered as “a kind, caring person.” Chen was a Chinese immigrant and grandfather who learned how to play Pokemon Go to bond with his grandchildren and nephews. Cromwell’s family is heartbroken and has continued to support him and maintained his innocence, even testifying as character witnesses during his trial.

Cromwell’s attorney Andrew Sacks plans to appeal the conviction.