By Joe Beck -- firstname.lastname@example.org
A Stafford woman was sentenced to four months in jail Tuesday in Warren County Circuit Court after she entered Alford pleas to unlawful wounding and abduction by force or intimidation in a case involving a domestic dispute with her mother.
An Alford plea allows a defendant to acknowledge the prosecution has enough evidence to convict her without admitting guilt.
Denise Marie Breeden, 33, was already serving 18 months in Stafford County on three other charges related to domestic violence against one of her children. The sentence for the Warren County offenses brings her total sentence to be served to 22 months.
Judge Dennis L. Hupp initially imposed a total sentence of four years in Warren County, but suspended all but four months. He also sentenced Breeden to two years probation.
After learning of Breeden's history of offenses arising from family disputes, Hupp suggested she consider taking a class in anger management.
Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney Bryan Layton told Hupp that Breeden attacked her mother, Livinia Couch, 61, at Couch's home at 274 Granny Smith Road on Dec. 6. A dispute over child custody led to the confrontation, according to court documents.
Couch "ended up on the ground" and Breeden repeatedly stomped on her chest, Layton said.
After Couch tried escaped briefly from the house, Breeden pulled her back into the house for "further physical altercation," Layton said.
Breeden's attorney, Margarita Wood, said after the hearing that her client's three convictions in Stafford County - assault and battery, violation of a protective order and disorderly conduct - stemmed from a confrontation Breeden had with her 16-year-old daughter.
Nevertheless, Wood told Hupp that Breeden's three school-age children were honor roll students and that reflected well on her client.
"She really is involved in the life of her children," Wood said of Breeden.
Wood asked Hupp to make the Warren County sentence concurrent with the Stafford County sentence. She also cited Breeden's declining health from multiple sclerosis
as another reason for a concurrent sentence.
Layton said the charges were too serious to deserve such leniency.
The convictions in Stafford County were "beyond mere assault and battery" Layton said.
"Based on the situation, this is an appropriate sentence, he added.