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W.Va. man pleads guilty in gun case

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By Alex Bridges -- abridges@nvdaily.com

WINCHESTER -- A West Virginia man must serve jail time for pointing a sawed-off shotgun at two men near his former home in 2010.

Phillip Lawson Stonestreet Jr., 53, 510 Butler Ave., Martinsburg, pleaded guilty Monday in Frederick County Circuit Court to possession of a sawed-off shotgun and two counts of brandishing the same firearm. Stonestreet entered the guilty pleas under an agreement reached between Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney Dennis McLoughlin Jr. and his defense counsel Anne Williams.

Retired Judge Benjamin Kendrick accepted the agreement and sentenced Stonestreet under the deal's terms to four years for the possession charge. Kendrick suspended the time imposed for the felony count in its entirety. The judge sentenced the defendant to consecutive, 6-month jail terms for each of the two brandishing charges, both misdemeanors. Kendrick also ordered Stonestreet to pay $250 fines for each misdemeanor charge and serve five years of supervised probation upon release. Stonestreet also agreed to forfeit the sawed-off shotgun to the commonwealth.

Stonestreet brandished the firearm at two men who stood near the defendant's home in the county on Sept. 3, 2010, according to McLoughlin. Stonestreet had held the shotgun and pointed it at the men who then ran from the area, the prosecutor said. The victims told authorities they knew the shotgun had been modified because they saw Stonestreet show them the firearm, McLoughlin said.

Deputies went to the home the next day but in response to a reported domestic incident involving an intoxicated person and a weapon. The prosecutor said deputies found the sawed-off shotgun under a bed inside the home. Measurements revealed the firearm had been modified to have a shorter barrel than a smooth-bore shotgun, and a trimmed stock, according to McLoughlin. The barrel measured 153⁄14 inches compared to the 18-inch length for such firearm, McLoughlin said.

Williams noted that had the case gone to trial the defense may have called into question how the firearm had become modified.

Court documents indicate Stonestreet lives in a domiciliary program run by the Department of Veterans Affairs through the medical center in Martinsburg.

Stonestreet already had pleaded no contest in Frederick County Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court to committing domestic assault and battery on his wife, Vicky Stonestreet, on Sept. 4, 2010, for which he received a 12-month jail sentence, all time suspended. Phillip Stonestreet also pleaded no contest to a charge of violating a protective order on Sept. 5, 2010, and he received a 150-day jail sentence with all but time served suspended.

Deputy V.L. Beauvais responded to the Stonestreet home on Newlins Mill Road and the victim reported that her husband had yelled at her, threw a spoon at her causing a cut on her wrist, then choked her. The deputy reported in the criminal complaint that the victim had visible marks on her neck and wrist. A preliminary breath test for alcohol showed Phillip Stonestreet had a 0.22 percent concentration, according to the complaint.

Deputy R.M. Shenk responded to the Newlins Mill Road home on Sept. 5, 2010, for a call from a family friend that Phillip Stonestreet appeared on the property. An active protective order remained in effect through Sept. 7, according to the complaint. The wife asked the friend to check the property "due to victim being afraid that he would be there," the complaint states. The woman told the deputy she walked around right side of the house by the driveway and "Phillip came out from behind the tree in the area," the complaint notes.

"She stated that he appeared to have been hiding," the deputy states.

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