Murder, pornography, felony DWI in circuit court

Three of the county’s highest profile criminal cases moved closer to resolution in Rappahannock County Circuit Court over the past week.

On Monday (July 11), a grand jury indicted Bryan Daniel Graves on two charges: driving while intoxicated and causing maiming, a felony; and a second-time DWI offense, a misdemeanor. Both charges stem from a Jan. 9 head-on crash on Route 231 which seriously injured Sperryville resident Virginie Audrain. According to Commonwealth’s Attorney Art Goff,  Graves’s trial will be set once he completes a rehab program out of state.

In the same session, a trial date was set for David Michael Williams, who is facing charges of murder and reckless handling of a gun causing serious bodily injury. On Dec. 15 of last year, Williams, 22, of Chester Gap, shot and killed his girlfriend, 25-year-old Brittney Koster of Woodbridge. Williams told police that he unintentionally shot and killed Koster after pointing what he thought was an unloaded 9mm semiautomatic pistol at her and pulling the trigger. The trial is set for Oct. 31 through Nov. 2.

On Friday (July 7) Zachariah Wayland, facing three felony counts of possessing or reproducing child pornography, was sentenced to 35 years in prison — with all but three years and six months of the jail term suspended. According to the criminal complaint filed by Rappahannock County Sheriff’s Deputy Shawn Walters, tens of thousands of pictures stored on electronic devices in Wayland’s possession were verified by the Internet Crimes Against Children database to be of “young females well under the age of 18” and most likely under the age of 16. Later, a few images were found to be of girls under the age of 13.

The family and girlfriend of the 24-year-old Flint Hill resident watched tearfully from the courtroom’s gallery during pre-sentencing testimony from witnesses, before Judge Jeffrey W. Parker pronounced Wayland’s sentence.

Dr. April Szilagyi, a clinical psychologist and psychotherapist who treats sex offenders testified that she had been working with Wayland since December.

“He sought me out and we have been meeting weekly,” she said, under questioning by defense attorney Frank Reynolds. “He has never missed an appointment. He doesn’t drive, so he has had to find ways to get to [my office in] Manassas. He’s been very amenable and open to suggestions” about his treatment.

She told the court that she had been counseling Wayland on “what was going on in his life,” including financial difficulties and stress from an unhappy break-up with a significant other. He also has a young daughter with whom “he wants to have an appropriate connection and be a better father,” Szilagyi said.

Next Reynolds called Theresa Wayland, Zachariah’s mother, to the stand to ask what arrangements would be made for caring for the young man’s daughter while he was incarcerated. Mrs. Wayland told the court that Zachariah’s family would continue to pay child support. “We hope to arrange visitations [with Zachariah and his daughter] to maintain contact,” she said. “They have a good loving relationship. He loves her and she loves him to death.”

In his closing arguments, Goff told Parker, “It’s disturbing to the commonwealth that there are people who view and distribute child pornography. It strikes at the heart of decency.”

Reynolds then told the court that “although this is a serious matter and Wayland had certainly broken the law, he is dealing with it” by seeing his counselor.

Earlier in the proceeding, Goff and Reynolds explained to Parker that they had amended the indictment for a technical reason having to do with the way the state categorizes and tracks crime statistics. In addition, they said, new sentencing guidelines meant that Parker was not required to stick with a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in prison.

Before pronouncing the sentence, Parker asked Wayland if he had anything to say. “I know I have a problem and I want to take care of it,” said Wayland.

“This is an unusual procedural situation,” said Parker. “I’m in a quandary in cases like this. Often I get clear pieces of evidence in pre-sentencing reports. It’s sometimes a sense of relief not to have to look at [this kind] of evidence, but a little more detail would have been good.”

Parker said he had taken into consideration Wayland’s youth and the fact that “there was no evidence he abused anyone, just viewed the images.”

In addition to jail time, Parker also included in the sentence 10 years of probation (the first four supervised). Parker enumerated other conditions of the sentence, including that Wayland must have no unsupervised contact with unrelated females; cannot possess or look at pornography; must submit to random, unannounced searches of his person, residence and electronic devices; and must undergo regular drug and psychological testing and sex therapy counseling. Wayland was taken into custody by a deputy.

District court: sentences for underage alcohol possession

Sentences in a  spate of underage alcohol possession charges were handed out July 5 in Rappahannock County District Court.

Patrick Blake Cockrell, 19, of Front Royal, pleaded guilty and was sentenced to a year of supervised probation and 50 hours of community service.

Three friends from Front Royal, all charged in the same incident, were sentenced separately:

Christopher L.A. Garnett, 19, pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 50 hours of community service to be completed by June 2017. Michael Rene Madrano, 20, was also was sentenced to 50 hours of community service and a year of supervised probation. Rhett Christian Tierney, 18, pleaded guilty to possession of marijuana and was sentenced to one year of supervised probation and a six-month license suspension. He also must complete the state’s alcohol awareness program, VASAP.

Melsy Euceda Maldonado, 26, of Alexandria, was arraigned on four misdemeanors: a first incidence of DWI, having an open container in the vehicle, having an illegal state inspection sticker and driving on a suspended license. All the charges were from a traffic stop on July 3. No hearing date has been set.

Andrew Thomas Duncan, 21, of Richardsville, was arraigned on a first incidence of DWI and failure to keep right on the highway. His case was continued to Sept. 20.

Manuel Andrade Melcar, 51, of Bealeton, was found guilty in absentia and sentenced on five charges: Failure to maintain control of his vehicle resulting in an accident, drinking while driving and having an open container in the vehicle, and driving without insurance, all misdemeanors; and misusing a farm use tag and having defective rear tires, both infractions. He was sentenced to pay a total in fines of $600.

Sarah Lee Maxie, 50, of New Canton, originally charged with making a bomb or burn threat, a felony, pleaded guilty to an amended charge of disorderly conduct and was sentenced to 90 days in jail, all suspended, and ordered to pay $100 fine.

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