Strangulation suspect pleads no contest

FRONT ROYAL – A local man pleaded no contest to strangulation and the assault and battery of a family member in Warren County Circuit Court on Tuesday.

Jeffrey Daryl Coffey, 20, will serve no time for his offenses so long as he completes an intervention program, remains on good behavior and stays in good standing with the law until a deferred disposition hearing in 2019.

A no contest plea is similar to a guilty plea, although the defendant does not directly concede guilt, he admits the prosecution has enough evidence to convict him of the crime in a trial.

According to a statement of the evidence from Assistant Warren County Commonwealth’s Attorney Anna Hammond, on July 31, 2016, a domestic dispute arose between the defendant and a victim at their residence on South Street in Front Royal.

The argument escalated into the night, at which point Coffey struck the victim several times, hitting her head, and began choking her on the bed, Hammond said. Upon investigation, bruising on the victim supported the narrative.

Coffey’s attorney, Ryan Nuzzo, did not object to the statement of the evidence, though he said certain witnesses to the event would have likely offered different details.

When prompted by Circuit Judge Ronald Napier, Hammond said the prosecution agreed to a plea deal because she worried the victim “would not hold up well and would suffer harm as a result.”

However, she said the victim had read and approved of the plea deal, and chose not to come to Tuesday’s hearing.

Coffey is scheduled to appear in court at 1:30 p.m. Feb. 19, 2019. Assuming he has satisfied the conditions of his sentence, the charges will be dropped at that point.

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