Circuit court: firearm, breaking and entering sentences

Grand jury indicts fraud, DUI cases

A Chester Gap man who was teaching his girlfriend how to shoot his pistol and wound up shooting his neighbor in the leg was sentenced in Rappahannock County Circuit Court this week on a charge of reckless handling of a firearm.

Judge Jeffrey W. Parker sentenced Samuel Darnel Wilson, 38, to 180 days in jail, but suspended 90 days, and also ordered Wilson to undergo one year of supervised probation.

Last August 27, Wilson was showing his girlfriend Christina Hutcherson, 29, also of Chester Gap, how to shoot the gun. The two were using a piece of plywood against a pile of firewood for target practice, but shooting in the direction of houses and a pasture where livestock graze. Apparently, a shot went astray and hit a neighbor in the leg, leaving a red mark. Wilson did not realize his neighbor had been shot.

After appealing their previous conviction in Rappahannock County District Court last November, a jury in circuit court on May 8 found Hutcherson and Wilson guilty. Hutcherson was sentenced to pay a $200 fine and over $900 in court costs. Wilson’s sentencing on the firearm charge and another charge for failure to appear on March 13 in district court was continued this past Monday.

At Wilson’s sentencing, his attorney, Jessica Clay, argued for leniency, saying that her client had not intended to harm anyone. Clay stated that Wilson had found employment and was supporting himself and Hutcherson, who was experiencing a difficult pregnancy. Incarcerating Wilson, said Clay, would jeopardize his employment status.

Commonwealth’s Attorney Art Goff argued that Wilson, a decorated veteran with 12 years of service in the military, should have known better how to handle a firearm.

When asked if he had anything to say, Wilson told the court, “I don’t want to lose my home or my family. I accept responsibility for what I did, but I don’t deserve to be locked away where I can’t provide for my family.”

After being sentenced, Wilson was remanded to the Rappahannock Shenandoah Warren Regional Jail.

Breaking and entering

Two Amissville men were sentenced in Rappahannock County Circuit Court last Thursday (July 6) on two felony charges each of breaking and entering an occupied dwelling to commit other misdemeanors.

After a lengthy investigation, 20-year-old Malcolm Phillips and 19-year-old Joshua McCullough were arrested in February for committing multiple burglaries and larcenies between July and September 2016.

Original charges against the two men included felony breaking and entering (five counts each), felony grand larceny (one count each), felony destruction of property (one count each), misdemeanor destruction of property (one count each), and misdemeanor larceny (three counts against Phillips, four counts against McCullough).

In addition, McCullough was charged with one count of misdemeanor larceny and vehicle tampering for allegedly entering an unlocked vehicle and stealing cash out of a wallet.

McCullough and Phillips were alleged to have caused more than $5,000 in damage to the homes they burglarized, despite stealing less than a $1,000 in property.

In an agreement made with Goff, in exchange for pleading guilty to two lesser counts, the other charges were dropped.

Judge Parker sentenced each man to two two-year terms in the penitentiary (to run concurrently). Parker suspended the sentences on condition of good behavior and ordered two years of supervised probation for each man. In addition, McCullough and Phillips must undergo drug counseling and pay court costs and restitution to the victims.

Pair indicted

A Rappahannock County grand jury indicted two local men during the circuit court session on July 10. Marlon Tuppince, 41, of Washington, was indicted on a felony charge of obtaining money by false pretense. According to the criminal complaint, “on March 23, Tuppince reported to Alfa Insurance that his 2002 Volkswagen Golf had been vandalized by an unnamed person. Damage included sugar in the fuel system.”

Subsequently, “Alfa Insurance paid Tuppince and his wife Wanda Tuppince $4,805 for the alleged loss.”

A later investigation revealed, however, that the vehicle had been in service during the time Tuppince reported the alleged crime.

In fact, according to the complaint, on March 23, “Tuppince was stopped and charged for racing the same vehicle the same evening in Warrenton.”

The case was continued to August 18. Wanda Tuppince had also been charged with obtaining money by false pretense, but her charge was dropped.

The grand jury also indicted Glenn Haines, 29, of Charlottesville on a charge of a third instance of DUI in 10 years while also having a child in the vehicle.

According to the criminal complaint, on April 27, Rappahannock County Sheriff’s Deputy Sgt. M. C. Dodson stopped Haines for traveling 56 mph on Sperryville Pike at Red Oak Mountain Road where the posted speed limit is 35 mph.

After smelling alcohol coming from the vehicle, Dodson had Haines perform five field sobriety tests, four of which indicated impairment. His blood alcohol level was tested and found to be .17, more than double the legal limit for intoxication. Dodson “also observed four juvenile females located within the vehicle,” according to the complaint.

Haines’ case was continued to August 18. Additional charges for abuse/neglect of a child: reckless regard for life are being adjudicated in Rappahannock County Juvenile Relations Court. Records of proceedings in that court are not available to the public.

About Patty Hardee 285 Articles
Writer, consultant, actor, director, recovering stand-up comic, Patty covers the county’s courts and other topics of interest for Rappahannock News. She lives with her grape-growing husband Bill Freitag in Flint Hill.