Judge deems man not ready to reintegrate

WOODSTOCK – A Shenandoah Circuit Court Judge ruled Friday that although a Winchester man had finished out a prison sentence for a violent sexual crime, he still is not fit to re-enter society.

Judge Dennis L. Hupp then sentenced Thomas Horace Alsberry to a continued inpatient treatment program for sexual offenders, with another hearing set for June 2017.

The civil commitment trial offered Alsberry, who has a record of sexual crimes including peeping-Tom offenses and breaking into the home of a 15 year old in Strasburg and sexually attacking her, a chance to prove his rehabilitation in prison.

Prosecutors argued to keep Alsberry in the system for fear of a relapse and more sexually charged offenses.

In his closing remarks, Hupp said he made his decision based on Alsberry’s numerous offenses, some of which were made while he was on probation.

“The past is the best predictor of the future,” Hupp said.

Public Defender Margarita Wood represented Alsberry, while Erin Dugan Whealton represented the commonwealth. Whealton said the home Alsberry would have lived in for conditional release was dirty, overcrowded, in a high crime and drug-use area and therefore would have been likely to lead to another offense.

On the other hand, Wood said because of the restrictions on conditional release homes, most of them tend to be in shadier areas.

Wood also said that because of Alsberry’s time spent with the Sexual Offender Residential Treatment program and the progress he made within it, along with the continued financial and emotional support of his family (some of whom testified at the trial), Alsberry is ready to reintegrate into society.

Countering Wood’s argument, Whealton said Alsberry’s performance in his rehabilitation program was insufficient, adding that his sentence ended with Alsberry at level zero of two. She drew heavily from testimony provided by Dr. Glenn Miller, a psychologist, and Zuri Lopez, a parole officer who works with sexually violent predators.

“Alsberry is not suited for conditional release,” Whealton said. “Releasing him to a neighborhood rife with drugs and crime would be disastrous.”

Following Hupp’s ruling, Wood declined to comment further on the matter.

Contact staff writer Jake Zuckerman at 540-465-5137 ext. 152, or jzuckerman@nvdaily.com