Front Royal, Flint Hill men sentenced

A 24-year-old Front Royal man was sentenced to two years’ probation in Rappahannock County Circuit Court Tuesday (Oct. 28) for possession of synthetic LSD, and Flint Hill resident Eric Alvin Phillips will spend a month in jail, possibly on work release, after pleading guilty to a reduced assault charge in what had been an alleged abduction case.

In addition to the probation, Judge Jeffrey W. Parker sentenced Clayton Keith Arnold, Jr., of Front Royal with 100 hours of community service and a six-month suspension of his driver’s license. Judge Parker declined to specify the intensive supervision that Commonwealth’s Attorney Art Goff recommended because Arnold apparently tested positive for opiates this summer.

Arnold was arrested on March 2, when Rappahannock County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Christopher Koglin pulled over a red Honda for speeding on Richmond Road. Koglin said he detected a marijuana odor coming from the car, which Arnold, the passenger, admitted to smoking. When asked, Arnold also produced a cigarette pack containing a white powder and a tab of artificial LSD, which Goff said Arnold had acquired at a Baltimore party.

In presentencing testimony, Arnold explained the positive drug test in July by saying he was at a party where someone apparently gave him a drink that contained drugs. When Goff asked why someone would do that, Arnold said he didn’t know. “A giggle, I guess,” he said. Parker told Arnold his explanation of the prehearing drug test sounded like a “dog ate my homework” excuse but granted him first-offender status nonetheless.

Eric Alvin Phillips, 28, of Flint Hill was indicted by a grand jury July 14 on charges stemming from a fight with his then-girlfriend, Shelby Buxton. After Buxton broke up with him, the complaint said, Phillips became angry, pinning her down on the bed and repeatedly holding a pillow over her head. Phillips then carried Buxton out of the house, forced her into his truck and told her he would “send them both through the windshield.”

According to the complaint, eventually Phillips released Buxton at her mother’s house; Buxton left there afterwards and encountered Phillips on the highway, at which point Phillips rammed her car repeatedly before leaving.

Goff and Phillips’ attorney, Frank Reynolds, asked Parker to accept a plea agreement to drop the felony abduction charge against Phillips in exchange for his guilty plea to an assault and battery misdemeanor. Parker did, and sentenced Phillips to 12 months in jail with all but one month suspended, a fine of $1,500 with all but $250 suspended, 12 months of supervised probation and six months of anger management counseling. He was also ordered to have no contact with Buxton. Goff said Buxton supported the plea agreement and was anxious to have the matter “done with.”

Reynolds had requested 30 days for Phillips to complete arrangements he said Phillips had already begun for a work release program at the Rappahannock Shenandoah Warren Regional Jail, so he could continue his full-time job with a local excavation company. Parker authorized the work release, but gave Phillips only 10 days to report to jail, saying the request to delay his sentence was unusual.

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About Patty Hardee 169 Articles
Writer, consultant, actor, director, recovering stand-up comic, Patty covers the county’s courts and other topics of interest for Rappahannock News. She lives with her grape-growing husband Bill Freitag in Flint Hill.