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Jury trial set in DUI maiming case

WOODSTOCK -- A new jury trial in the case involving a Strasburg man accused of hitting a bicyclist in November 2016 was set on Wednesday.

WOODSTOCK — A new jury trial in the case involving a Strasburg man accused of hitting a bicyclist in November 2016 was set on Wednesday.

Ernest Linwood Tharpe III, 35, planned to enter a plea agreement on Nov. 6, but Circuit Judge Dennis L. Hupp rejected the agreement because he felt there was sufficient evidence to convict Tharpe and that the case should be brought before a jury. Chief Circuit Judge Clifford L. Athey presided over the case on Wednesday because of Hupp’s ruling.

Tharpe’s attorney, Franklin Reynolds, advised Athey that Tharpe’s speedy trial rights may cause an issue with scheduling the case for trial. Athey asked Reynolds and Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Kristen Zalenski to determine when the trial had to begin to meet the state’s speedy trial requirement

After making that determination, the two-day jury trial  was scheduled to begin on Feb.1, and a hearing on pre-trial motions was set for Jan. 17 in Shenandoah County Circuit Court.

Reynolds asked the court to consider a reasonable bond for Tharpe because he’s been in custody on the charges since mid-September, but Athey denied the motion. He cited Tharpe’s previous violations of his bond by drinking alcohol and committing additional offenses in another county. Tharpe remains in custody at Rappahannock-Shenandoah-Warren Regional Jail as he awaits his next hearing.

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