Joseph Anthony Lenchick, half of the Castleton couple facing child abuse and cruelty charges, pleaded guilty to a single charge of child endangerment in Rappahannock County Circuit Court last Thursday morning (April 4).
Lenchick’s plea was submitted as an Alford plea – the defendant admitting that sufficient evidence exists to likely convict him at trial, but maintaining innocence of the crime.
Summarizing evidence for the court, Commonwealth’s Attorney Art Goff said that from last April 15 to May 13, Lenchick, 45, was responsible, along with his wife, Brenda Holly Lyons-Lenchick, for the care of three children, including a three-year-old girl identified as “DL.”
Lyons-Lenchick, 39, was tried separately and pleaded guilty March 11 to two counts of child abuse and neglect and one count of neglect with the intent to maim. She is scheduled to be sentenced on June 12.
DL, Goff said, suffered from cerebral palsy and had casts on both her legs. The casts were designed to stretch a tendon in the legs, eventually allowing the girl to be fitted with more permanent metal braces in an effort to make her somewhat mobile.
Goff said that Lyons-Lenchik observed Lenchick head into a tool shed behind their house and emerge with a pair of scissors. When she asked him what he was doing, he replied that he intended to loosen the casts on DL’s legs because he was “tired of hearing her scream and cry.”
Goff said Lenchick actually cut the casts completely off DL’s legs which, according to her doctor, Mark Romness, injured the health of the child by delaying and damaging a necessary medical procedure.
Lenchick was interviewed by Capt. J.C. Welch of the Rappahannock County Sheriff’s Office on May 23. Goff said that during that interview, which was the subject of an ultimately unsuccessful suppression motion in December after it was discovered Welch didn’t read the couple their Miranda rights, Lenchick admitted that he had not consulted with a doctor before cutting the casts off. Lenchick said he knew what he did to DL was wrong, but added that he was tired of hearing his child in distress.
Judge Jeffrey Parker accepted Lenchick’s plea and placed him on a $10,000 personal recognizance bond. His sentencing is July 8.
Also in court last Thursday, Kevin Paul Peebles was found guilty of violating his probation after failing a mandatory, random drug screen on Feb. 7; during that screening, Peebles tested positive for cocaine, marijuana and oxycodone.
Stephanie Spicer, Peebles’ parole officer, testified that Peebles immediately admitted his use of the pain pill to her, but initially denied the cocaine and marijuana. After leaving her office, however, Spicer said Peebles called her and “wanted to come clean.”
Spicer said Peebles attended a birthday party where he indulged in the cocaine and marijuana, saying he “knew it was a poor choice by him,” but did it anyway. Spicer also noted that, since that initial screening, Peebles has had no other drug offenses, has increased his contact with her and has not missed a single appointment.
Goff petitioned Parker for some leniency in Peebles’ case, asking that his probation be extended for another year “so he can get a handle on his substance abuse problem,” but did not seek any additional jail time. “I’d like to him succeed,” Goff said.
“I did a stupid thing and I won’t do it again,” Peebles said. “I ask that you allow me the chance to continue to do better.”
“I think you’ve already been given a lot of breaks in this case,” Parker told Peebles. “This is your second [probation] violation [the other being a DUI case pending in Warren County].”
Parker reimposed one month of a previously suspended sentence, but did allow Peebles, who serves as caretaker for an elderly diabetic patient, until April 9 to report to Rappahannock County Jail. Parker also extended Peebles’ existing probation for another year.
“You’re lucky to be getting only one [year],” Parker said. “Real lucky.”
David Andrew Burke, who was charged with driving on a revoked or suspended license (his second such offense in five years), pleaded guilty Monday morning (April 9) and was subsequently sentenced.
Parker followed Goff’s recommendations and sentenced Burke to six months in Rappahannock County Jail (all but 40 days suspended). Burke must also perform 100 hours of community service within a year of being released and is on supervised probation for one year (or until he completes the community service).
Burke also has the option to re-obtain his license from the DMV: if he successfully obtains it, he will be released from his probation and any outstanding community service hours. Burke has until 8 p.m. Sunday night (April 14) to report to jail.
The Rappahannock County Sheriff’s Office is searching for Thomas Roy Berry, 43. The 5-foot-10, 170-pound, dark-haired, blue-eyed suspect’s last known location, according to RSCO, is Richmond Road in Castleton.
Berry is wanted on three separate felony counts of aggravated sexual battery against a child. Anyone with information about Berry’s whereabouts is asked to contact the sheriff’s office at 540-675-5300.
RCSO Deputy E. Ramey pulled over 22-year-old Seth Shaver, of Amissville, on Viewtown Road on March 30. While searching the car, Ramey recovered an undisclosed amount of marijuana and a 12-inch curved knife. Shaver was arrested and charged with two misdemeanors: possession of marijuana and carrying a concealed weapon.
On March 31, Deputy Christopher Koglin responded to a call on Seven Ponds Road, where he located a vehicle parked on the wrong side of the road and facing in the wrong direction. Koglin arrested the driver, 31-year-old Amissville resident Crystal Compton, on a charge of driving under the influence.
On April 2, Deputy Chris Ubben investigated a vehicle parked at the end of a driveway on Sperryville Pike. During the investigation, Deputy R. Lee Settle and his drug detection dog Bear found marijuana, Percocet and hydrocodone. Ubben arrested 37-year-old Timothy Allen Trott of Grafton, W.Va., and charged him with operating a vehicle without a license, possession of a schedule I/II drug and possession of marijuana. Ubben also discovered Trott’s passenger, Patricia Buckingham, 61, of Rowlesburg, W.Va., was carrying a concealed handgun; Ubben subsequently charged her for that offense.
A trial date of June 20 was scheduled for Davis Winfield Eisenmann. Eisenmann is charged with possessing oxycodone and marijuana, two counts of manufacturing marijuana for others and possessing a firearm.
Trial dates were also set for Ashley Pompell and Paul Alexander White. White, a 27-year-old Woodbridge resident, was directly indicted on March 11 on one count of possession with the intent to distribute (marijuana) and one count of driving under the influence (DUI) of drugs and alcohol. His jury trial is scheduled for June 19.
Pompell, who was indicted in November on one charge of distributing less than 10 ounces of marijuana to a minor, is scheduled for a bench trial on June 12.