The motorcyclist who led a state trooper on a high-speed peak-season chase last year was sentenced Monday (Sept. 10) in Rappahannock County Circuit Court to nine months in jail.
Commonwealth’s Attorney Art Goff described in court how Brandon Dale Morris, 24, of Woodbridge, led Virginia State Trooper Don Corbin on a 10-minute chase along a busy U.S. 211 after Corbin attempted to stop him for speeding.
Corbin testified that he first clocked Morris and another biker (who eventually got away) doing 79 mph in a 55-mph zone on eastbound 211 near Amissville. After deciding to pursue Morris, Corbin said he quickly noticed he “didn’t appear to be gaining any ground.” At several points during the chase, Corbin said his speedometer was maxed out at 140 mph.
Corbin said he pursued Morris for about 10 minutes over an 18-mile stretch; Morris crossed into Culpeper County at one point, looked over his shoulder and made a sweeping U-turn at Clevenger’s Corner. Corbin said he eventually pulled Morris over near the Amissville fire hall.
In court, Goff asked Corbin to replay the video from his squad car’s dashboard camera. Though the screen was turned away from the public eye, the sirens and squeal of tires could be heard the entire time. Morris, in a dark suit and tie, sat with his head bowed and his eyes on the floor for the duration.
“This was a grave threat to public safety for absolutely no reason,” said Goff. “We have to send a loud message that public safety is important,” he continued, recommending that Judge Jeffrey W. Parker exceed the minimum sentencing.
“Not everyone needs to go to jail to learn a lesson,” replied Sudeep Bose, Morris’ counsel. “Mr. Morris has absolutely learned his lesson, and will already be paying for it by carrying the label of ‘felon’ around with him for the rest of his life.”
After hearing both arguments, Parker noted that the tape “graphically drives the point home” when illustrating the danger inherent to a situation like this. Parker then sentenced Morris to 18 months in jail (with nine months suspended), after which he will be on supervised probation for two years. Parker also suspended Morris’ license for 90 days.
Also in court Monday, Dennis Charles McGillivray III pleaded guilty to the felony charge of entering a house with the intent to commit grand larceny. According to Goff, the 19-year-old Amissville resident conspired with two juvenile accomplices to enter the home of Joseph Decklessa and, finding its owner wasn’t there, stole a 9mm handgun and a PlayStation 3.
According to an incident report by Rappahannock County Sheriff’s Office investigator Capt. J.C. Welch, McGillivray wanted money for marijuana and gas. He was apprehended shortly after the break-in. McGillivray is due to be sentenced Nov. 16.
– Matt Wingfield
Vandals defaced two buildings on the Kastle Green Golf Club grounds in Midland over the weekend, wreaking about $40,000 in property damage.
Sperryville attorney Bill Fletcher, who owns the property on Rogues Road, discovered the vandalism Monday afternoon. Mirrors and glass doors were shattered and golf clubs were bashed into walls and computer monitors in the clubhouse. Graffiti of song lyrics and profanity covered almost every wall of both the clubhouse and the nearby maintenance shed.
Fletcher purchased the 18-hole golf course after it closed last year, hoping to sell it to someone who wanted to revive it as a business. Fauquier County sheriff’s deputies are investigating the vandalism.
– Fauquier Times-Democrat