Crime & Courts

Randy Smoot manslaughter appeal denied

After hearing two and a half days of testimony, the jury deliberated for three and a half hours before returning a verdict of voluntary manslaughter. Smoot was sentenced in September 2018 to eight months in jail. Accounting for time already served behind bars, Smoot was released in December 2018. […]

Crime & Courts

Marian Bragg court date set for February

Circuit Court Judge Jeffery W. Parker has scheduled a two-day bench trial for February 20 and 21, 2020 in the matter of Marian Bragg v Rappahannock County Board of Supervisors, a case known as Bragg 1. Filed in 2016, the suit will finally be heard on the merits after having generated hundreds of pages of documents and clocked hours and hours of court and attorney time. […]


BOS approves FY20 budget; squelches Code of Conduct; votes down Planning chair

A fiscal year 2020 budget totaling $26,129,281 was adopted by the Rappahannock County Board of Supervisors at its regular meeting Monday, while at the same time it tabled indefinitely by a 4-1 vote a Code of Conduct and Ethics proposed over a year ago.In addition, by a 3-2 vote, the board chose not to re-appoint Planning Commission chair Gary Light — tasked with overseeing development of the county’s new Comprehensive Plan — for another four-year term. […]

Land Use/Zoning

BZA narrowly approves retroactive permit for farm building made residence “To turn a blind eye… encourages more of the same”

The issue of what constitutes a family apartment on the same property as a primary residence is a thorny topic that the county’s boards frequently wrestle with. At its April 24 meeting, the Board of Zoning Appeals heard from an applicant that not only wanted to convert her current residence into a family apartment, but also wanted a retroactive permit change on another structure on her property. […]

Crime & Courts

Back in court: Latest Lee DWI charge goes to grand jury

Lee’s attorney, Frank Reynolds, explained before court that the two DWI 2nd offenses were in different jurisdictions, and because neither had yet been adjudicated they both stood as second offenses. But that status did not last long. Minutes later, District Court Judge J. Gregory Ashwell signed off on an agreement that sends one of the DWI offenses to the grand jury for indictment as a third offense on March 11. […]


Brendan Martyn shines in student film

Brendan and his long-time film partner Tyler Spaid, another USC student, won top awards for best performance and best director in the school’s Campus Movie Fest competition, beating out 200 other entries. Brendan and Tyler will attend the national competition in Atlanta in May. […]


Hampton Supervisor John Lesinski not seeking reelection

“At this time, I have chosen to focus my future energies on volunteer opportunities in Rappahannock County and on my board appointed positions with the Commonwealth of Virginia and will not seek re-election this November on the Board of Supervisors as the representative of the Hampton District,” reads Lesinski’s Feb. 24, 2019 letter delivered to the Rappahannock News. […]

Crime & Courts

State police probe of county financial practices drawing to close

The investigation was touched off by a letter from Rappahannock County Treasurer Debbie Knick to the county’s Board of Supervisors in February 2017. In the letter, Knick accused her own county government of mismanagement, including failure to follow proper expense and payroll procedures and lack of oversight of budgeting and spending. […]

Crime & Courts

Wrongful death settlement in 2015 Chester Gap killing

After the criminal proceeding in Rappahannock County, Brittney’s mother, Tina, sued Williams in Warren County Circuit Court, charging wrongful death. A wrongful death suit is a civil proceeding usually brought by the victim’s surviving family members seeking compensation for such things as lost wages, lost companionship, or funeral expenses. […]

Crime & Courts

Rappahannock Circuit Judge Jeffrey Parker to retire

Parker has presided over some of Rappahannock’s highest profile and most controversial cases, including suits arising out of plans made in 2013 by the town of Washington, Trinity Episcopal Church, and the Inn at Little Washington to beautify the Washington town square at the intersection where Main Street meets Middle Street in front of the Inn. […]


Supervisor Smith becomes vice chair of Planning Commission

Piedmont District Supervisor Christine Smith, BOS representative to the County Planning Commission, has been elected the commission’s vice chair. The planners re-elected Gary Light as commission chair. Smith replaces Al Henry, who has served as vice chair for several terms. […]

Crime & Courts

Four indicted for booze, meth, guns and larceny

According to the criminal complaint filed Sept. 7, 2018, Virginia State Trooper C. C Burgoon saw two vehicles on Route 522 traveling at 35 miles per hour in a 55 mph zone. The vehicles seemed to be traveling together. When he activated his lights and siren, the two vehicles pulled into the Hillsdale Country Store on Route 211. […]


Lawsuits consuming county’s time, energy and money

Despite several members of the public asking for civility of the Rappahannock County Board of Supervisors in the New Year, this past Monday’s meeting was marked with disagreement, aggression and raised voices — supplied mostly by Jackson Supervisor Ron Frazier, who erupted several times during the meeting, mostly around the topic of ongoing taxpayer-funded litigation in defense of the county government. […]


Happy New Year, BOS! Board of Supervisors face new conflict of interest violation charges

Filed by Harris Hollow resident George Sonnett, and represented by local attorney David Konick, the Petition for Declaratory Judgment charges three Rappahannock supervisors and County Attorney Art Goff with violating the state’s Conflict of Interest Act (COIA) on several occasions last year when considering the appointment of Peter Luke as Deputy County Attorney — ironically to help handle the workload of previous lawsuits filed against Rappahannock County by certain residents. […]


Supervisors, county attorneys wrangle over Bragg suits against government

Almost two hours into the afternoon session, several agenda items touched off an argumentative debate between Jackson Supervisor Ron Frazier, Piedmont Supervisor Christine Smith, and County Attorney Art Goff about the county’s progress in adjudicating Marian Bragg v the Board of Supervisors. […]