Courts & Legal News

Front Royal man pleads guilty to heroin possession with intent to distribute

FRONT ROYAL -- A local man pleaded guilty on Monday to heroin possession with the intent to distribute, the charge stemming from a March traffic stop. Brian William Schmidt, Jr., 26, met with a confidential informant on March 15 to travel to Baltimore together and buy heroin, Assistant ...

Man pleads guilty to breaking and entering charges

FRONT ROYAL -- An Annandale man pleaded guilty on Monday to two breaking and entering charges as part of a plea agreement. Charlie Montano, 21, was charged with breaking into a home and breaking into a vehicle in the early morning hours of Aug. 23, Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Anna ...

Preliminary hearing set in child’s death

FRONT ROYAL -- A December preliminary hearing has been set for the local man and woman charged in the death of a 22-month-old boy. Chad Andrew Ritchie, 28, is accused of fatally assaulting the victim on Nov. 8 while the child’s mother, Tabitha Rose Zimmerman, 28, was away from their Blue ...

Edinburg woman enters Alford plea in drug case

WOODSTOCK -- An Edinburg woman entered an Alford guilty plea Wednesday to drug and child endangerment charges stemming from a February 2016 methamphetamine bust at her home. An Alford plea allows Becky Ann Pirkheim, 36, to maintain her innocence while acknowledging that it is in her best ...

Bench trial set in attempted murder case

WOODSTOCK -- Shenandoah County Circuit Judge Dennis L. Hupp on Wednesday set a bench trial for Jan. 19 in the case of a local man accused of trying to shoot his brother in the head. Jose M. Martinez-Rosario, 46, was indicted in September on attempted second-degree murder and brandishing a ...

Caretaker sentenced in murder case

WINCHESTER -- Circuit Judge N. Randolph Bryant sentenced a Berryville woman on Tuesday to serve 20 years in prison after she entered an Alford guilty plea to killing a woman in her care. The sentencing hearing for Frances Charlene Moss-Hopkins, 57, began on Monday in Frederick County Circuit ...

Judge delays sentencing in caretaker murder case

WINCHESTER -- After hearing a full day of testimony from the prosecution and defense on Monday, Circuit Judge N. Randolph Bryant decided to wait until today to deliver the sentence for the Berryville woman who entered an Alford plea plea of guilty in May to killing a woman in her ...

Judge rejects plea agreement in DUI maiming case

WOODSTOCK -- Circuit Judge Dennis L. Hupp rejected a plea agreement on Monday in a DUI maiming case involving a Strasburg man accused of hitting a bicyclist with his SUV in November 2016. Ernest Linwood Tharpe III, 35, planned to plead guilty on Monday to a reckless driving charge that was ...

Prosecution drops burglary charges against West Virginia man

WOODSTOCK -- The prosecution on Monday dropped the charges against a Martinsburg, West Virginia, man accused in multiple Shenandoah County burglaries. Terry Wayne Siford, 41, was facing 27 burglary-related charges stemming from a string of home invasions from 2013 and 2014. He was arrested ...

Man sentenced on officer assault charges from I-81 chase

WOODSTOCK -- A Washington, D.C., man was sentenced on Friday to serve over six years imprisonment after he led state and local police on a multi-county chase in April 2016. Brandon Deshawn McClaney, 32, pleaded guilty in August to several charges stemming from the 45-minute high-speed chase ...

Maurertown man sentenced in child sex case

WOODSTOCK -- A Maurertown man who entered an Alford plea of guilty to two child sex offenses was sentenced on Friday to two years in prison. Dennis Lee Branham, 69, maintains his innocence with the Alford plea that he entered in September to two counts of taking indecent liberties with ...

Diner robber sentenced to 2 1/2 years

WOODSTOCK -- Circuit Judge Dennis L. Hupp on Friday sentenced one of the four co-conspirators in the January attempted robbery of Ben’s Diner. Andrew Bradley Shoemaker, 19, after testifying at a co-defendant’s trial, pleaded guilty in August to participating in the attempted robbery. He ...

Strasburg man pleads guilty to drug distribution

FRONT ROYAL -- A Strasburg man pleaded guilty on Thursday to distribution of alpha-PVP, a drug similar to the street drug commonly known as “bath salts.” Brandon Shawn Zappas, 43, was the driver in a drug transaction between two confidential informants and the woman in the passenger seat ...

Woodstock man pleads guilty to abduction, assault charges

WOODSTOCK -- A local man pleaded guilty on Tuesday to several violent offenses stemming from a December 2016 domestic dispute involving his grandmother and another woman. Gary Edward Largent, 35, had shoved his then-85-year-old grandmother to the ground when Amy Nichole Grimes, a woman who ...

Man pleads guilty to heroin distribution

FRONT ROYAL -- Circuit Judge Ronald L. Napier accepted a plea agreement on Monday that called for a man to plead guilty to heroin distribution. Napier sentenced the defendant, Jacob Alan Gray, 36, to a total of three years in the corrections system, two years for the heroin distribution charge ...

Front Royal man sentenced in heroin distribution case

FRONT ROYAL -- A local man was sentenced Monday to serve one year and six months on a heroin distribution charge he was convicted on in July. James Anthony Rawlings, 22, was found guilty of heroin distribution after a bench trial before Circuit Judge James Lane, where Rawlings was found to ...

Man found guilty of lesser charge in domestic assault case

FRONT ROYAL -- A jury of eight men and four women on Tuesday found a local man guilty of assault and battery in what was originally a malicious wounding case. Paul Michael Sullivan, 36, was charged with malicious wounding after he repeatedly punched Kristen Ketron in the face on Feb. 20 at the ...

Man sentenced in child endangerment, DUI case

WOODSTOCK -- A Front Royal man who pleaded guilty in September to DUI and child endangerment charges was sentenced on Wednesday to 27 months in jail. James Robert Eury, 45, was arrested after driving an all-terrain vehicle while intoxicated with his two young children, aged 1 and 4 years old, ...

Man pleads guilty to large-scale marijuana distribution

WOODSTOCK -- An Edinburg man pleaded guilty Wednesday to felony marijuana distribution and manufacturing charges as part of a plea agreement. Roger Lee Dellinger, 54, sold an ounce of marijuana for $400 in January 2016 to a confidential informant equipped with an audio recording device. Law ...

Bond revoked in child rape case

WOODSTOCK -- Circuit Judge Dennis L. Hupp revoked the bond of a Winchester man charged with multiple child rape offenses after hearing the prosecution’s appeal that the defendant be held without bond. Rosendo Gonzalez-Garcia, 41, is accused of forcing a young girl to perform sex acts on him ...