Courts & Legal News

Judge denies motion to remove defense attorney from murder trial

FRONT ROYAL -- Circuit Judge Clifford J. Athey on Monday denied the prosecution’s motion to remove defense attorney John Bell from the Clay Marshall Curtis murder trial, upholding a ruling from a previous hearing. Curtis, 64, is charged in the December 2014 shooting death of Front Royal cab ...

Woodstock man sentenced in child sex case

WOODSTOCK -- After pleading guilty to child sex charges and other offenses in April, a local man was sentenced on Friday in Shenandoah County Circuit Court. Thomas Scott Martz, 21, pleaded guilty to sending sexually explicit messages to a 14-year-old girl via text and social media between June ...

Bond revoked in attempted murder case

WINCHESTER -- Circuit Judge Neil R. Bryant granted a motion Thursday to revoke bond in the case against a Martinsburg, West Virginia, man accused of attempted murder. Ellis Reginald Fennell, 28, is accused of shooting at a woman driving in her car on the 313A on-ramp northbound to Interstate ...

Prosecutor says murder defendant confessed to inmate

FRONT ROYAL -- Defense attorney John Bell will continue to represent accused murderer Clay Marshall Curtis, despite law enforcement officials' assertion that Marshall confessed to another jail inmate -- also a Bell client -- that he fatally shot Front Royal cab driver Simon Funk in December ...

Teen gets probation in bomb hoax case

FRONT ROYAL -- A Front Royal teen accused of bringing a hoax bomb device to Warren County High School in January pleaded guilty to a felony charge on Monday. Caleb Daniel Sutphin, 18, planted a hoax bomb device made out of gears, a phone charger and an empty carbon dioxide cartridge, in a ...

Judge postpones sentencing in home invasion case

WOODSTOCK -- The sentencing of man who pleaded guilty to a charges related to a home invasion in Woodstock was postponed Monday. Circuit Judge Dennis L. Hupp rescheduled the sentencing until Sept. 6. In the meantime, the defendant Thomas Henry Caison, 19, must participate in an evaluation to ...

Mistrial declared in child rape case for lack of jury

WOODSTOCK -- Circuit Judge Clark Ritchie declared a mistrial Friday in the case against a Fort Valley man facing rape and sexual battery charges against a girl under the age of 13 because there were not enough jurors present to proceed. James Allen Lutz is accused of engaging in sexual ...

14 indicted on federal heroin distribution charges

Fourteen people from area counties and Baltimore have been indicted in federal court in Harrisonburg for heroin distribution in the northern Shenandoah Valley, the Front Royal Police Department announced in a news release on Friday. The indictments are part of an ongoing investigation with ...

Trial set for man accused of attacking hotel housekeeper

WOODSTOCK -- After the grand jury submitted indictments, a bench trial was set Wednesday in Shenandoah County Circuit Court in the case involving a Butner, North Carolina, man accused of sexually attacking a hotel housekeeper in April. A grand jury indicted Refugio Zermeno-Camarena, 23, on ...

Sentencing postponed in Edinburg rape case

WOODSTOCK -- The sentencing hearing in the case against the Edinburg man a jury found guilty of rape in early May has been postponed to a later date at his attorney’s request. Patrick “P.J.” Wakeman, 40, appeared via video conference on Wednesday while his attorney, William Allen III, ...

Front Royal man pleads no contest to assaulting officer

FRONT ROYAL -- In a case that was originally set for trial on Monday, a local man pleaded no contest, as part of his plea agreement, to assaulting an officer with the Warren County Sheriff’s Office in July 2016. The Sheriff’s Office received a call about Marcus Gibson, 35, acting “out of ...

Two plead guilty in Warren County drug cases

FRONT ROYAL -- In two separate drug cases involving confidential informants, two men pleaded guilty on Monday to drug distribution charges as part of their respective plea agreements. Joshua Peck, 28, of Front Royal, pleaded guilty to methadone distribution after he sold four pills to a ...

Woodstock man sentenced on child molestation charges

WOODSTOCK -- A local man Friday received the maximum sentence under a plea agreement in which he pleaded guilty in February to six sex offenses committed against children. John McGee Bohen, 60, was indicted in July 2015 in the molestation of two 6-year-old girls -- one in 2004 and the other in ...

New police chief brings his experience to Middletown

Middletown residents will see a new face in town on July 1 when Gary Benedict Jr. takes over as police chief. Benedict, who won the council's approval Monday night for the position, is chief of police in Avon,  a small town in western New York. He has been the chief there for more than four ...

Woodstock man faces possible life imprisonment, deportation

WOODSTOCK -- Through an interpreter, a local man originally from Guatemala entered an Alford plea of guilty on Wednesday to the rape of an 11-year-old girl. The defendant, Hector Vicente Pelico, 29,  faces the possibility of deportation as a result of the Alford plea in which a person ...

Diner robber pleads guilty to all charges

WOODSTOCK --  An Edinburg man pleaded guilty Wednesday to five charges he was facing after he attempted to rob Ben’s Diner in Woodstock in January. Raymond Lamar Washington, 27, had not signed a plea agreement when he entered guilty pleas that eliminated the need for a jury trial that had ...

Mount Jackson woman pleads guilty to embezzlement

WOODSTOCK -- A Mount Jackson woman who was originally facing 19 counts of embezzlement in 2016 pleaded guilty on Wednesday to six embezzlement charges as part of a plea agreement. Tina Christine Leith, 48, was hired to handle the financial books for James Cannon. For months, Leith was writing ...

Front Royal man pleads guilty to prison drug delivery

FRONT ROYAL -- A local man pleaded guilty on Tuesday to being involved in a plot to deliver drugs to a prisoner in Rappahannock-Shenandoah-Warren Regional Jail. The grand jury in Warren County Circuit Court on Monday indicted Joshua Allen Cook, 27, on a charge that stems from a January ...

Teen indicted on murder charge

FRONT ROYAL -- A grand jury on Monday indicted a teen accused of stabbing his girlfriend in March in Front Royal on a second-degree murder charge. Bailey Lincoln Powell, 18, of Gore, is charged in the March 23 stabbing death of Leah Marie Adams, 19, of Front Royal. Powell was 17 when he ...

Woman pleads guilty to drug distribution charges

FRONT ROYAL -- As part of a plea agreement, a Paw Paw, West Virginia, woman on Monday pleaded guilty to cocaine distribution, trespassing and assault and battery charges. Sarina Bryson was facing charges from a June 2016 incident where she sold a $50 bag of crack-cocaine to a confidential ...