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Edinburg man's plea deal includes vasectomy

By Joe Beck

An Edinburg man will undergo a vasectomy as part of an agreement in which he pleaded guilty to child endangerment, hit and run driving and driving on a suspended license.

Jessie Lee Herald, 27, was also sentenced to a total of one year and eight months in prison and three years supervised probation and two years unsupervised probation.

Assistant commonwealth's attorney Ilona L. White offered the agreement on June 4, the day of a scheduled plea hearing, and Herald accepted. White and Charles Ramsey, Herald's attorney, agreed that the vasectomy provision is something rarely seen as part of a sentencing.

"Absolutely, it's unusual," Ramsey said in an interview Thursday. "I've never been part of one like that before."

The agreement calls for Herald to undergo the vasectomy within a year of his release from prison. The agreement also requires that Herald not reverse the vasectomy while he is on probation.

"It's a condition of his probation, and I'm sure he'll have to provide documentation to his probation officer," White said of the vasectomy.

White said her motivation in offering the vasectomy option to Herald stemmed from concerns raised at sentencing hearings in earlier cases about how many children have been traced to him from different women.

"It was primarily due to the fact he had seven or eight children, all by different women, and we felt it might be in the commonwealth's interest for that to be part of the plea agreement," White said of the vasectomy provision.

Herald's previous convictions in Shenandoah County Circuit Court include hit and run driving, unlawful wounding, possession of illegal drugs and obtaining money by false pretenses.

Ramsey refused to comment on the number of children Herald has had or the number of women cited by White.

Herald's sentencing on child endangerment and the related offenses stem from a vehicle crash on Dec. 23. Authorities accused him of leaving the scene after his 2007 Toyota ran off Stony Creek Road, hit an embankment and rolled over.

Herald fled with the 3-year-old boy who had been traveling with him, state police said.

Herald returned to the child's residence, then fled again on foot before state police arrived, authorities said.

State police found the boy at the residence and took him to Shenandoah Memorial Hospital where he was treated for minor injuries.

Herald turned himself in at the Shenandoah County Sheriff's Office about a week later.

Contact staff writer Joe Beck at 540-465-5137 ext. 142, or jbeck@nvdaily.com

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