Courting trouble

A Rappahannock County Circuit Court grand jury handed down indictments April 21 for homicide, firearms charges and a third offense of DWI within 10 years.

David Michael Williams, 22, of Chester Gap was indicted on two felonies: homicide and reckless handling of a gun, as well as pointing or brandishing a firearm, a misdemeanor. A fourth charge, involuntary manslaughter, was dropped. All charges stem from the Dec. 15, 2015 incident in which Williams shot and killed his girlfriend, Brittney Koster, a 25-year-old Prince William County resident.

According to the complaint filed by Rappahannock County Sheriff’s Office investigator Shawn Walters, Williams pointed a 9mm semiautomatic pistol at his girlfriend and pressed the trigger. The bullet struck the young woman in the neck, the complaint says, after which she stood up from couch and walked a short distance before she collapsed and died. One law enforcement source said Williams had ejected the pistol’s magazine before pointing the gun at Koster, but didn’t realize there was already a round in the firing chamber. The case is due in court May 19.

Sperryville resident Gregory William Dodson was indicted for a third DWI offense in 10 years (a felony). The case was also continued to May 19.

In the same circuit court session, Judge Jeffrey W. Parker, in a bench trial, found Phillip Matthew Held, 41, of Front Royal guilty of violating his probation on a felony offense. Parker sentenced Held to three years and three months in the penitentiary and suspended all but six months.

For the underlying felony offense, Held was sentenced in February of 2013 to four years in the penitentiary, with three years and three months suspended. Held pleaded guilty at that time, after an emotional trial, to a charge of aggravated sexual assault, amended from a charge of rape by force or threat.

Parker also sentenced Brandon Wayne Blosser, 20, of Washington, to six months of supervised probation for violating his probation on a misdemeanor charge dating from November of 2014. At that time, faced with a felony charge of having a gun on school property, Blosser, pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge in district court and was sentenced to 90 days in jail with 76 days suspended and 12 months of supervised probation.

District Court actions

Drug- and alcohol-related cases featured prominently in Rappahannock County District Court Tuesday (May 3).

Casey Renae Fletcher was arraigned on two felony charges of possessing controlled substances, including heroin; and one misdemeanor charge of unauthorized possession of drug paraphernalia. “You’re in pretty hot water,” Judge J. Gregory Ashwell told the 20-year-old Amissville resident. He found her eligible for a court-appointed public defender and continued the case to June 7.

Shaylee N. Severson, 24, of Capon Bridge, W.V., was arraigned for a fourth incidence of driving on a suspended license. The charge was incurred April 5 — the same day she was sentenced for a third incidence of driving on a suspended license. At that time, she was sentenced to 10 days in jail, 12 months of unsupervised probation and a 90-day suspension of her license. Her current charge is continued to June 14.

Ashwell found Severson eligible for a court-appointed attorney and advised her to speak to a public defender who was present at the courthouse for another case. “I don’t want you driving back and forth from West Virginia on a suspended license,” said Ashwell.

Troy Matthew Best, 29, of Sperryville, appearing in a an orange and white striped uniform of a Rappahannock Shenandoah Warren Regional Jail inmate, pleaded guilty to a second incidence of driving on a suspended or revoked license. The charge was amended down from driving on a revoked license after an alcohol related offense. He was sentenced to 120 days in jail, all suspended, and fined $250.

Timothy Joseph Burroughs, 45, of Chester Gap, also in RSW inmate garb, pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of a second incidence of driving on a suspended or revoked license. The charge was amended down from a felony charge of a third incidence of driving on a revoked license. Ashwell sentenced him to 12 months in jail, with 10 months suspended, and a $400 fine.

Jennifer Dianne Perez, 38, of Stanley, Va, was arraigned on charges of DUI and eluding or disregarding police. And because she was absent from court, she was also charged with failure to appear. Her case is to be heard June 7.

Thomas C. Anderson, Jr., 33, of Front Royal, was arraigned on a first DWI charge. His case is continued to June 14. Robert Christopher Lynn, 51, of Sperryville, was arraigned on a second DWI charge and a second offense of refusing a blood or breath test. His case is continued to May 10. Richard W. Haun, 28, of Front Royal, pleaded guilty to driving on a revoked license and was sentenced t0 90 days in jail, all suspended; and $400 fine, $300 of it suspended.

Christopher Lee Ramey, 31, of Sperryville, was arraigned on a second DWI offense. His case was continued to June 7.

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