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Posted August 16, 2012 | comments 15 Comments

Public defender eligibility questioned in dumpster meat case

By Joe Beck -- jbeck@nvdaily.com

A case involving a Maryland man accused of stocking adulterated and misbranded meat at a Front Royal store is headed for court on Sept. 18 to determine whether he is entitled to representation by a court-appointed public defender.

Warren County Commonwealth's Attorney Brian Madden said Wednesday he intends to "raise the issue" of public defender eligibility for Rodney L. Cole Sparks. Coles is charged with 10 counts of selling meat described in the criminal complaint against him as "temperature abused, freezer burned, putrid, decomposed, unsound, unhealthful, unwholesome and (appearing) unfit for human food."

Sparks is identified in court documents as owner of a store at 654 W. 11th St.

The complaint accuses Sparks, of Monrovia, Md. of obtaining the food from a Food Lion Dumpster in Berryville and offering it for sale in his store.

Madden offered few details about the arguments he plans to make before Judge Dennis L. Hupp, although he noted that Sparks owns property in Front Royal and Maryland. Public defenders are usually appointed for clients deemed too poor to pay for their own attorney.

Court documents signed by Sparks include lists of his assets and income and a statement asking for a public defender.

A checklist for bail determination lists Sparks income at $10,000 annually and his level of education as a high school graduate. The same document also lists his place of employment as "only business in (Front Royal)."

The document lists that he had secured the $15,000 bail imposed on him as of March 1.

A financial statement filed a day later lists him as self-employed at the time of his arrest and his pay period as "whenever he can sell anything."

His real estate assets are a home with a net value of $275,000 and an unspecified business worth $62,000, according to the statement. The statement shows him as owner of a 2006 Saturn crossover SUV and a 2004 Chevrolet truck. The statement also lists a checking account at BB&T containing $260.

The court documents include a list of meats he stocked at his store, their prices and the dates it was on sale.

The lowest price item is listed as Gores Souse at $1 for 0.64 pounds on Jan. 12. The highest price is 93 percent lean ground beef at $6.50 for 4.16 pounds on Nov. 13.

Other prices and items on the list include: fresh ground chuck at $1.25 per .98 pounds; fresh ground beef not to exceed 27 percent fat at $1.75 for 1.17 pounds; beef sirloin strip steaks at $3.50 for 1.64 pounds; and beef and half eye of round roast beef at $4.50 for 2.66 pounds.

15 Comments | Leave a comment

    wow - he should write a book - How to survive on $10,000.00 a year and own a house on over 6 acres in Maryland, in-ground swimming pool, buildings, cars, trucks, boats, run a cat rescue, support a daughter in beauty pageants (Monique is 2012 Miss Frederick), private school, have a business listed in Maryland as "Spark's Specialty". All of this on $10,000.00 a year? Not bad. Sounds like dumpster diving should be an occupation. How about IRS?

    Anyone who can dig in a dumpster and try to resale this stuff is capable of anything. I smell a rat!

    By all means let's give him free council, maybe a "dream team" can be put together for him. That might only be available for murderers.

    Go vegetarian! You'll feel better and no one can pass off a bad veggie!

    Makes me wonder where all of the food in his store came from. Dumpsters carry all kinds of food. But I have never seen a freezer section in any outside dumpster so this food was re-frozen? Is this store, Rodney's Discount Food, still open? How many of these people that shop there have boats and a large in-ground pool at their large brick house sitting on over 6 acres in a very, very nice up-scale neighborhood? Sounds like he has plenty of money for an attorney. Wake up Virginia -- close him down. Sounds like he is commiting crimes in your state and now he wants you to pay him.

    yep I googled map the property after hombre above suggested it. That pretty cool what that aerial photography can bring us. Lots of stuff on that property, wow pretty impressive.

    not sure if they are veal shacks farther out from the main buildings, but possiblity.

    I was in his businnes twice in the royal village of front royal. It seemed alright in there, I just sort of stuck with the non parrishabels like chips. This was way before the place got busted.

    The taxpayers of Front Royal can rest easy with Madden and Hupp in charge. Or is it Laurel and Hardy?

    I remember the first time being in the place, some woman (probably a regular) raving about the strawberries she bought from there. I guess it is a bit different then the meat.

    I think Madden will protect the Va tax payers money from what this guy is trying to pull, I hope the Judge throws the book at him for lying and back charges him for all the free legal services he`s already received with fines.

    These garden veggies are good. Slow cook the tomatoes, peppers, onions, and whaterver else you can throw in.....definately the ever so succesful summer squash, and there you got it....the perfect thing for anything. Throw in a few beers and wow.....greate way to be in the summer.

    I had to find a place to put this on here, and here I am. ;)

    after proofreading that "e" always comes in after a few beers.

    Just thinking about recalls. When there is a recall on a food item does Rodney get notified? And how would he get notified when there possibly would be no record of his purchases? Do dumpsters give out receipts? I would think the manufacturers/distributors would notify the buyers of their products that a recall has been issued. Can't wait to see his business records in court. Like I said, dumpsters do not give out receipts. I believe the only way to stop this is to close down that store before something bad happens and the Commonwealth of Virginia will have to take responsibility for the end result. Virginia, it is in your lap now.

    I agree with you Sassy, if Virginia allows Rodney`s Discount to stay open without showing proper receipts for everything in that store, they will be as responsible as Rodney if people get sick and or die!

    he was providing a valuable community service... that was the only place in town where I could find fresh greens during the big salmonella lettuce recall last year... oh wait nevermind.

      Do you know if his Virginia store is still open? I understand his Monrovia business is still operating according to the ads. His Monrovia, Md "cat rescue" is still operating, as I understand it, without any licenses or rabies vac for these over 75 cats running over the neighborhood. Claimed he feeds over 20 lbs of dumpster meat per day to these cats. Well, it would appear from the dead cats that dumpster meat does not agree with them. Some of these cats appear to younger rather than older but not kittens. So sad to see a beautiful long hair black cat lying dead, as if it is napping in the sun. Commonwealth of Virginia - do Maryland a favor and keep Rodney Sparks in your state - we have had him long enough. The best of luck to you. LOL


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