Former deputy indicted on attempted sodomy charge

WOODSTOCK — A grand jury on Wednesday indicted a former deputy of the Shenandoah County Sheriff’s Office on charges including attempted sodomy and kidnapping.

Walter Thomas Myrtle Jr., 42, of Woodstock, is accused of attacking a woman in May in her home when he had been having mental health issues and was planning a suicide attempt, his father and brother testified  in a bond appeal hearing in June.

Circuit Judge Clifford L. Athey denied bond at that hearing, but allowed Myrtle furlough to travel for mental health treatment, noting that the criminal justice system is not equipped to handle mental health cases because of a lack of resources.

Myrtle is only allowed furlough when accompanied by his brother, who is currently a law enforcement officer. Myrtle was with the Shenandoah County Sheriff’s Office from 1997-2006.

A special prosecutor from Augusta County, Joseph Lee, is prosecuting this case, which has been transferred from Page County to Shenandoah County. David Hensley, Myrtle’s attorney, noted for the court that he would like to “hurry” the case along. Myrtle was indicted on attempted sodomy, sexual penetration with an object, kidnapping and violating a protective order.

Circuit Judge Dennis L. Hupp recused himself from the case. The next hearing has been scheduled for Oct. 11 in Shenandoah County Circuit Court.

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