“Why were you late?” was the common refrain in Rappahannock County Circuit Court Wednesday afternoon (Nov. 13), as Judge Jeffrey W. Parker asked three defendants the reasons for their tardiness to court. A fourth defendant, who was on time, pleaded guilty to a felony charge of eluding police.
That defendant was 27-year-old Cory Carlton Summers, of Stephens City, who also pleaded guilty to driving on a revoked or suspended license. Summarizing evidence for the court, Commonwealth’s Attorney Art Goff said that Rappahannock County Sheriff’s deputies Sgt. Ronnie Dodson and Lee Settle were conducting a traffic stop when three motorcycles — among them Summers’ lime green bike — sped past them at 80 mph.
Settle stayed behind, Goff said, while Dodson pursued the bikers, who quickly accelerated to more than 100 mph as they raced along U.S. 522. After turning onto U.S. 211, Goff said Summers turned into Hillsdale Store, turned around and sped away again, eventually evading Dodson.
Summers’ newfound freedom didn’t last long, however, as Goff said he was stopped shortly thereafter at Massies Corner by none other than Settle. When asked why he fled, Summers responded that he knew he was driving without a proper license and didn’t want to get caught.
Parker accepted Summers’ guilty pleas, but not before advising him that his probation, from a separate offense, could be negatively impacted by the guilty verdict. Summers was released on a $15,000 secured bond. His sentencing hearing is scheduled for Feb. 6.
Three jury trial dates were also set in the cases of Gregory Kenneth Dixon, Jeremy Dylan Newcamp and Zachary Clay Pilkins, the last of whom is currently being held in Fauquier County Jail on separate charges.
Dixon, 56, of Culpeper, is charged with one count of brandishing a firearm, stemming from a confrontation on Aug. 4 with his mother’s neighbor. According to court documents, Dixon was weed-eating at his mother’s Amissville property when he heard screaming and shouting coming from the adjoining property, where Reynold Ramchoran lives.
Dixon called his mother and the police to investigate the dispute; the complaint says Dixon watched Ramchoran come out of his apartment “covered in blood.” Dixon then pulled a handgun and pointed it at Ramchoran, advising him he “would kill him if he came any closer” to Dixon or his mother.
Ramchoran claimed he had been arguing with his girlfriend, smashed a stool and reopened a cut on his arm in the process. Shortly thereafter, Rappahannock County Sheriff’s Deputy Matthew Cody Dodson arrived on the scene; the complaint states Dixon “immediately dropped the gun and backed away from it.”
Dixon was found guilty of the charge in Rappahannock County District Court on Sept. 3. He received 30 days in jail (all suspended) and a year of unsupervised probation. He appealed the decision to circuit court; his half-day jury trial is scheduled for Feb. 21.
The 18-year-old Newcamp, of Castleton, is charged with one count each of breaking and entering, grand larceny and entering a structure with the intent to commit larceny, as well as two counts of unlawfully possessing a firearm.
In August, Amissville resident Charles Dodson testified that on April 22 he awoke to find his shed door — in which he kept five shotguns — slightly ajar. Further inspection showed the door’s padlock had been cut and the guns removed, he said.
Investigator Capt. J. C. Welch of the Rappahannock County Sheriff’s Office said he later recovered the guns in the woods behind Amissville resident Rayland Brown’s house. Brown, who testified in August in exchange for full immunity, said he drove Newcamp to Dodson’s property and provided trash bags for Newcamp to wrap the guns. His one-day jury trial is scheduled for Feb. 25.
Pilkins, 21, of Amissville, is charged with a felony count of eluding police. State Trooper Brandon Johnson’s criminal complaint against Pilkins said the trooper clocked a 2000 Mercury Cougar belonging to Pilkins speeding on U.S. 211 near Battle Mountain Road on July 29.
Johnson’s complaint said he gave chase but lost sight of the vehicle, later finding it parked on property belonging to Thierry Joseph Liverman. The trooper took no action since he couldn’t prove who’d been driving the car.
But Pilkins reported his car stolen later that day, according to the complaint, and told police his friend’s father had given him a ride to work that day. When asked by police, the complaint reported, the father denied having seen Pilkins that day. When they asked his son, Ethan Newport, Newport told investigators he was the passenger in the vehicle on July 29, and that it was driven by Pilkins.
Pilkins’ jury trial is scheduled for March 17.
After initially agreeing to wait on the cases for Phillip Lee Brown and Ahmed Safwat Moharan, allowing them more time to make it to the courthouse, Parker was left with Krista Marie Kowalski, who was to sign some paperwork regarding the $21 bad check she was previously convicted of writing.
Kowalski, however, was 20 minutes late to the afternoon session. “Well, I’ve got to start with someone,” Parker mused before — temporarily — issuing a writ of capias. Kowalski eventually arrived at the courthouse, and testified that she had “underestimated the time it would take me to get here.”
Although Parker agreed to rescind the capias order, he told Kowalski that he felt she was “taking the situation entirely too casually” and described being late as “showing a complete lack of respect for the court.” Parker then found her in contempt and fined her $50; she has 30 days to pay the fine.
Brown and Moharan both arrived during Kowalski’s hearing, and were both greeted with identical questions, “And why were you late today?” Brown, who resides in Baltimore, said he was delayed by a snowstorm and got lost on his way to Washington. Moharan also sheepishly admitted he’d had trouble finding the courthouse. Both cases were continued to Dec. 5.
“I don’t understand why everyone seems to have so much trouble finding this place,” said an exasperated Parker. “It’s really not that hard to find.”