Probation violations dominate docket

Terry Denvell Collins, 58, of Washington, pleaded guilty in Rappahannock County Circuit Court Feb. 5 to violating his probation on Oct. 29, when he was arrested for driving with a suspended license and having been declared a habitual offender with multiple prior convictions.

Commonwealth’s Attorney Art Goff told Judge Jeffrey Parker that the sentencing guidelines called for one to five years in jail, with a minimum of 12 months and no suspension of time. Collins’s court-appointed attorney said that his client has been trying to get his life together, has a job within walking distance of his home and has paid his previous court costs. Judge Parker agreed to Collins’s attorney’s request to delay sentencing until March 19 so Collins could prepare his family for his absence.

Lloyd Timothy Freeman, 50, of Front Royal, pleaded guilty to two probation violations: being drunk and disorderly and driving without a license. Freeman testified that, because of a clerical error, he didn’t realize he had been driving with a suspended license.

Goff told the court that Freeman has serious underlying felony issues, including grand larceny and firearms violations, and that he failed to contact his probation officer. “At his age, Mr. Freeman should know better,” said Goff. Freeman’s court-appointed attorney said that although Freeman did not report to his probation officer, “he did call to see how he could make things right.”

Goff recommended that Freeman be sentenced to six to eight months in jail “to send a message about the seriousness of the alcohol and marijuana use while on probation.” He also recommended intensive supervised probation and that Freeman should be required to wear an alcohol detection device — called a SCRAM bracelet — that would report alcohol violations directly to his probation officer.

Freeman said that alcohol has been a problem “for the majority of my life” but that he wants to pursue recovery from alcohol and marijuana. He has looked into local rehab programs, he told Judge Parker, and “I will do whatever the court recommends, whatever I have to do.” He said he wanted to continue working and had moved to Front Royal to make it easier to get to work without a license.

Before sentencing Freeman, Parker said, “When you have so many felony violations hanging over your head, probation violations are magnified and the stakes are higher. However, I’m going to take you at your word that you want to recover from alcohol and marijuana.” He sentenced Freeman to two years and six months in the penitentiary, suspending all but five months. After his release, he’ll be required to wear the monitoring bracelet for seven months.

Matthew Cory Fletcher, 22, of Castleton pleaded guilty to violating his probation after testing positive for marijuana. He was sentenced to 70 days in jail, but Parker did not oppose work release while Fletcher is serving his time.

In Circuit Court this Monday (Feb. 9), Scott Cameron McMurtray, 49, of Castleton, was sentenced for violating his probation by failing to complete Virginia’s alcohol education program, known as VASAP. Goff recommended that McMurtray be sentenced to 56 days in jail, with all suspended except 10 days, and one year probation. Goff also recommended that McMurtray be able to serve his sentence in two successive weekends, as he is employed full time, and that McMurtray not have to report to jail until Feb 16. The conditions of the sentence require that McMurtray complete the VASAP program and complete the term of his license suspension without violation. In his sentencing statement, Parker said to McMurtray, “I wouldn’t have given you the 46-day suspension. To me, your behavior speaks for itself.” But in accepting Goff’s recommendation, Parker added, “Good behavior means complying with all the rules and requirements of probation.”

About Patty Hardee 177 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.