Gun thief sentenced to six months  

A Front Royal man charged with one count of grand larceny and a count of felony firearms possession was sentenced Wednesday morning (Dec. 12) in Rappahannock County Circuit Court.

Commonwealth’s Attorney Art Goff said Timothy Lloyd Freeman, 48, was previously employed as a contractor by Helen and Richard Koldewey between November 2011 and April of this year. Goff said that during the time of his employment, Freeman stole several firearms belonging to the couple, including two 12-gauge shotguns, a .410-gauge shotgun and a pump-action .22 caliber rifle. Goff said Freeman then pawned those guns at National Pawn Brokers, an Arlington pawn shop, receiving several hundred dollars for them.

Freeman, who has previous felony convictions in Texas, was subsequently charged with the illegal possession of the weapons.

Goff recommended Judge Alfred D. Swersky exceed the minimum sentencing guidelines in Freeman’s case, citing Freeman’s “lengthy criminal history, some of which is quite severe.” Goff noted that Freeman did fully cooperate with the Sheriff’s Office in locating the guns, but said Freeman’s crime was a serious violation of trust, and should be treated accordingly.

Defense attorney Kevin Garrity pointed to Freeman’s cooperation with police, as well as his record of steady employment and recent return to church as reasons for Swersky to look toward the lower end of the sentencing guidelines. Garrity also called Freeman’s fiance, Tammy Cummings, as a character witness.

Cummings said she has been dating Freeman for two years, and has noticed a change in him since his jail time began. “His temperament has changed,” she noted. “He’s going to church regularly now and he’s trying to get right with God, and I believe that has changed him.”

Prior to his sentencing, Freeman, dressed in his black-and-white jail jumpsuit, briefly spoke on his own behalf, apologizing to the court and the Koldeweys for his actions.

“I was impaired by alcohol at the time, but that’s not an excuse,” Freeman said tearfully. “If I had been in the state of mind [then] that I’m in today, this never would have happened, and I just hope you’ll have mercy.”

Swersky sentenced Freeman to three years in jail for the grand larceny charge; after Freeman has served six months, the remaining sentence will be suspended for five years, during which time Freeman will be on supervised probation and must remain on uniform good behavior.

Swersky also sentenced Freeman to three years in jail for the felony possession charge. He suspended the entire sentence for five years, on the condition that Freeman remain on supervised probation, exercise good behavior and attend substance abuse counseling. Freeman currently has 15 months left in the Warren County jail for other offenses; his new sentences are set to run consecutively with that jail time.

Freeman must also pay restitution for the weapons, though the exact amount has not been determined.

Seven-month sentence for drugs and disappearing

Joseph Sanford Burns II, 21, of Lignum, was sentenced to serve up to seven months in jail by Rappahannock County Circuit Court Judge Jeffrey W. Parker last Thursday (Dec. 6). Burns was charged with felony possession of the schedule II drug oxycodone, eluding police and a misdemeanor charge of contempt of court.

Goff said Burns, after first being charged in March, “absconded” from his pretrial probation and was missing for several months. Earlier, Goff said, Burns had failed to attend several toxicology screenings, and was subsequently found in violation of his bond and in contempt of court. He was located again in early November.

Goff recommended that the court’s sentence exceed the guidelines, noting that drugs and alcohol were “the bane of [Burns’] existence” and urging that his probation account for his previous substance abuse.

“You need to put him on a tight leash,” Goff told Parker.

Peter Hansen, Burns’ defense council, noted that, as part of a deal with former Commonwealth’s Attorney Peter Luke, Burns had previously cooperated with police and provided information on his cohorts. Hansen said he believed one day in jail for each day Burns was a fugitive would “balance the scales of justice.”

Parker found Burns guilty on all counts. He then sentenced Burns to four years for the felony possession (41 months suspended), two years of supervised probation and revoked Burns’ driving privileges for six months. For eluding police, Burns received six months in prison (suspended) and two years of supervised probation (concurrent with his felony probation); for contempt, Parker added 10 days in jail (concurrent with his felony sentence).