Crime and Courts for July 12

Two more sentenced in arson

Two more young men convicted of last August’s break-in and arson of a weekender’s cabin on Grand View Road, near Washington, were sentenced in separate sessions over the past week in Rappahannock County Circuit Court.

Since pleading guilty this spring and earlier this summer, both 20-year-old Benjamin Thomas Hale of Castleton and 18-year-old Erick Xavier Rodriguez of Woodville qualified for the Youthful Offender Program (YOP), a boot camp-style program for 18- to 25-year-old offenders that requires a four-year commitment to incarceration at the Indian Creek Correctional Center in Chesapeake, Va., where inmates wear military fatigues and undergo rigorous physical and educational training.

Upon successful completion of the YOP program, prison sentences imposed will remain suspended for Hale and Rodriguez, who were sentenced July 5 and 9, respectively, by Circuit Court Judge Jeffrey W. Parker.

Parker sentenced Hale to 22 years and 36 months for 12 offenses, ranging from arson to grand larceny; upon finishing the YOP program, he will be on supervised probation for 15 years, must perform 200 hours of community service and owes $200 to the Rappahannock County School Board (for a separate break-in at the elementary school), $25,000 to State Farm Insurance and $2,000 to William Rowland, whose cabin on Grand View Road was burned to the ground by the group of young men after they’d broken in, spent the night and decided the fire would erase any trace of their visit.

Rodriguez’s sentence on 10 charges totaled 19 years, 24 months; after his YOP term, he has 10 years of supervised probation, 100 hours of community service and $25,000 restitution to State Farm and $2,000 to Rowland.

In exchange for testimony against the other three defendants in the case – Hale, Rodriguez and 20-year-old Julious Caesar Lucas of Boston, all of whom pleaded guilty before their cases came to trial — Cameron Lee MacArthur II, 18, of Amissville entered a plea agreement with Commonwealth’s Attorney Art Goff in February that would allow him to serve a reduced sentence (three years and six months) in Rappahannock Jail, which also offers a work-release program.

The final defendant, Julious Caesar Lucas, 20, of Boston, was last in circuit court June 8, when he pleaded guilty to 10 charges, and his attorney said he would be evaluated for entry into the Youthful Offender Program. Lucas is scheduled to be sentenced Aug. 28.

Four indicted Monday

Felony indictments were handed down by a Rappahannock County Circuit Court grand jury Monday (July 9) against four defendants charged with: rape, distributing oxycodone, forging public documents and grand larceny.

The jury returned true bills against Phillip Matthew Held of Front Royal, charged with raping a woman Feb. 12 in her Chester Gap home after a night of drinking. According to District Court records, the victim testified that she had known Held for about 10 years and that he was a “very close family friend.” According to the victim’s testimony, Held entered her room between 5 and 7 a.m. and raped her in her bed.

Held, who is free on bond, appeared several minutes late before Judge Parker Monday afternoon, and Parker had already issued a writ of capias, making Held a fugitive. As he set July 24 as Held’s next hearing date, Parker thus dressed down the defendant: “You have a duty to be here at 1 o’clock . . . . You’re lucky I don’t revoke your bond.”

Carl Cutro, last believed to live in Woodville, was indicted on two felony breaking and entering charges and one grand larceny charge related to an April 5, 2010 break-in and theft of cash from the Sperryville Corner Store.

The jury also returned true bills against Heather Leah Dodson on one count of distributing/possessing a schedule I/II drug (oxycodone), and Nathan Dingwell, 23, of Charlottesville, who is charged with two counts of forging public records, after he allegedly handed  Virginia State Trooper Phillip Thomas, who’d pulled him over Sept. 15, the license and registration belonging to his brother.

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Roger Piantadosi
About Roger Piantadosi 534 Articles
Former Rappahannock News editor Roger Piantadosi is a writer and works on web and video projects for Rappahannock Media and his own Synergist Media company. Before joining the News in 2009, he was a staff writer, editor and web developer at The Washington Post for almost 30 years.