Gun pointed; deal reached; case dismissed

A misdemeanor charge of brandishing a firearm, placed this summer against a 56-year-old Culpeper man who’d claimed he was defending himself and his mother from a possible attack, was dismissed Thursday (Dec. 19) in Rappahannock County Circuit Court after the victim said he’d agreed to an out-of-court settlement.

Gregory Kenneth Dixon was charged with the misdemeanor after Rappahannock County Sheriff’s Office deputies arrived at a confrontation between Dixon and his mother’s neighbor on Aug. 4. According to court documents, Dixon was weed-eating at Helen Dixon’s Amissville property when he heard screaming and shouting coming from the property next door, where Reynold Ramchoran lives.

Dixon called his mother and the police to investigate the dispute; the complaint says Dixon watched Ramchoran come out of his apartment “covered in blood.” Dixon then pulled a handgun and pointed it at Ramchoran, advising him he “would kill him if he came any closer” to Dixon or his mother.

Ramchoran claimed he had been arguing with his girlfriend, smashed a stool and reopened a cut on his arm in the process. When RCSO Deputy Cody Dodson arrived on the scene, according to the complaint, Dixon “immediately dropped the gun and backed away from it.”

Dixon was found guilty of the brandishing charge in district court Sept. 3. He received 30 days in jail (all suspended) and a year of unsupervised probation, but appealed the decision to circuit court.

Thursday morning, Dixon’s defense attorney Mark Cummings informed Judge Jeffrey W. Parker and Commonwealth’s Attorney Art Goff that his client and Ramchoran had reached a settlement agreement and requested the charge be dismissed.

Such an outcome, Goff said later, is enabled by section 19.2-151 of the Virginia Code, which states that certain misdemeanors can be dismissed at the injured party’s request, pending the court’s approval of out-of-court settlements. “This only applies to misdemeanors,” Goff said. “It can’t be used with felony charges, and there are other exceptions,” he added, including assault on a family member or a law enforcement officer or when there’s “intent to commit a felony.”

In court Thursday, Ramchoran assured Parker he’d agreed to the terms of the settlement, including an undisclosed monetary compensation for him, and asked him to dismiss the charge. Parker agreed, though he ordered Dixon to pay all his court costs first.