Businessman serving time for drugs, money laundering, tax evasion
By Sally Voth -- firstname.lastname@example.org
HARRISONBURG -- Imprisoned Shenandoah County lumberyard owner Richie Hansford "Shag" Conner continues to spend much of his time behind bars working on appeals and lawsuits.
So far, none appear to have been successful.
Conner, who had long owned Shag's Lumber Yard on U.S. 11 between Mt. Jackson and Edinburg, is serving an 11-year sentence for conspiracy to distribute 500 grams or more of methamphetamine and 5 kilograms or more of cocaine, conspiracy to commit money laundering and criminal tax evasion. He had been dealing drugs from his business.
Prosecutors said Conner was laundering the more than $4 million he made selling drugs by buying up numerous properties.
In late August, the Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals dismissed an appeal Conner filed in January 2010, according to online court records.
Early last year, U.S. District Judge Samuel G. Wilson dismissed Conner's motion to set aside his sentence, saying it was untimely filed because it came after the one-year statute of limitations ran out. Conner had said his lawyer was ineffective and that he didn't knowingly and voluntarily enter his guilty plea.
Conner disputes Wilson's ruling in a motion to appeal, and says his rights were repeatedly and deliberately violated by the court and ineffective counsel.
In an unpublished opinion from Aug. 23, the appeals court says that "Conner has not made the requisite showing" that the district court made a "debatable" ruling and that his motion was based on a "debatable claim of the denial of a constitutional right."
U.S. District Judge Michael F. Urbanski in July dismissed the $195,000 lawsuit Conner filed earlier this year against Reckart Equipment Co., of Beverly, W.Va., and Allied Systems Co., of Sherwood, Ore., according to court records.
The dismissal was at the request of the parties involved.
The suit says Conner bought a skidder from Reckart for $195,000 in 2004.
The skidder soon developed problems, according to the suit, including "a malfunctioning grapple [which eventually exploded], a 'blow-by on motor and rear main seal leak.'"
He'd filed the suit on behalf of his long-time girlfriend, Eunice Montgomery, according to court records.
Conner has also unsuccessfully sued his doctor and the attorney who represented him in his criminal case.
He sued his defense attorney Gene Hart, of Harrisonburg, for $50 million, saying the lawyer didn't object to an "erroneous" search warrant and property seizure, violated his confidentiality by giving prosecutors bankruptcy information without Conner's consent, and didn't ask for Conner's sentence to be lowered because of his acceptance of responsibility.
Conner claims in his suit that he was under the influence of amphetamines when he pleaded guilty nearly four years ago.