Edinburg woman enters Alford plea in drug case

Becky Ann Pirkheim

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 interest to plead guilty. She was granted a first-offender disposition for a drug possession charge, which will require her to complete two years of supervised probation rather than a prison sentence.

Law enforcement executed a search warrant on the Edinburg home Pirkheim shared with Joshua Allen Riffey, 35, on Feb. 17, 2016 just after their 8- and 10-year-old sons left for school in the morning, Commonwealth’s Attorney Amanda Wiseley said during Wednesday’s hearing.

In the house, law enforcement found evidence of a methamphetamine lab, including evidence of freshly cooked methamphetamine, Wiseley said. There were also sludge pots in the house along with stripped lithium batteries and cold packs, all of which were easily accessible to the children, Wiseley noted.

Wiseley said the reason for the plea agreement, which calls for the drug manufacturing charges against Pirkheim to be dismissed, is that there was no evidence that she was involved in the methamphetamine manufacturing except for her relationship with Riffey, who pleaded guilty on Oct. 18 to multiple drug manufacturing charges stemming from this and other incidents. Wiseley also noted that Pirkheim has no prior criminal history, and with Riffey serving over a year in prison, their children would be without care if Pirkheim was incarcerated.

Circuit Judge Dennis L. Hupp accepted the agreement and sentenced Pirkheim to complete two years of supervised probation under the first-offender statute. In that time, she must also complete 100 hours of community service. The agreement calls for the court to wait until Pirkheim successfully completes her probation before amending the two counts of felony child endangerment to contributing to the delinquency of a minor, which is a misdemeanor.

The next hearing  is scheduled for Nov. 13, 2019 in Shenandoah County Circuit Court for final disposition.