Woodstock man pleads guilty to abduction, assault charges

Gary Largent

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 was visiting Largent at his grandmother’s home, intervened. Largent then attacked Grimes, striking her in the head, causing her to fall to the ground where he repeatedly kicked her,  Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Kristen Zalenski explained during Tuesday’s hearing.

At some point during the altercation, Largent strangled Grimes to the point that “she heard the bones in her neck cracking,” Zalenski said the victim told authorities, adding that Grimes said she thought she was going to die. An evaluation in February showed the incident left Grimes with post-concussion syndrome.

Largent did not allow Grimes or his grandmother to leave the home on Dec. 12, the day of the attack. On the morning of Dec. 13, Grimes was able to find a cell phone and alert the police. Largent was arrested a week later in Rockingham County on warrants from the incident. He was charged with malicious wounding, strangulation, domestic assault and two counts of abduction. Largent has been in custody since this incident.

The case was set for a bench trial Tuesday, but the prosecution and defense attorney David Hensley came to a resolution after what Hensley called “strenuous negotiations” on both sides. The prosecution has not been able to locate Grimes, who has an outstanding warrant for her arrest after she failed to appear in Shenandoah County Circuit Court on Oct. 18 on her own charges of breaking and entering and assault.

The inability of authorities to locate the victim was a large motivation for the prosecution to enter the agreement, Zalenski said. Circuit Judge Dennis L. Hupp said the agreed-upon sentence, which calls for Largent to serve three years imprisonment,  is below the guidelines, adding that the prosecution could ask for the case to be postponed. But, because there is no way to tell when Grimes could be located, the prosecution could run into speedy trial issues that would cause the case to be dismissed.

Largent will serve three years of a 21-year sentence from the charges he pleaded guilty to. Hensley noted that Largent would take issue with the malicious wounding charge but was  entering the agreement because it would be to his benefit. Upon his release, Largent must complete five years of supervised probation that will be followed by five years of unsupervised probation.

Hupp also accepted the agreement because Zalenski said the grandmother was in agreement with the terms. Hupp suggested a no contact provision to the agreement. Zalenski said that the grandmother wanted a no trespass provision rather than no contact because she would be open to talking to Largent on the phone, but did not want him to come to her home.