Judge sentences couple for making meth in 2013

Wayne Shillingburg

WOODSTOCK – A New York couple has received suspended prison sentences for running a methamphetamine laboratory in Shenandoah County in 2013.

Wayne Allen Shillingburg and Valerie Ann Hall, of Millport, New York, appeared in Shenandoah County Circuit Court on Monday for sentencing. Each defendant faced serving a prison term of 10 to 40 years for manufacturing the drug. A judge found them guilty Oct. 20 on one count each of manufacturing a schedule I or II controlled substance and ordered pre-sentencing reports the court can use to determine punishment.

Judge Dennis L. Hupp sentenced Shillingburg, 36, and Hall, 35, to 10 years in prison and ordered all time suspended for both defendants. Hupp ordered Shillingburg and Hall to serve five years of supervised probation followed by five years of unsupervised probation. Hupp on Oct. 20 granted the commonwealth’s motions to dismiss Shillingburg’s and Hall’s remaining charges of conspiring to manufacture methamphetamine and possessing the precursors to make the drug.

Hupp, after hearing arguments from Commonwealth’s Attorney Amanda Wiseley and Shillingburg’s lawyer, Brad Pollack, said requiring the defendant to serve an active jail sentence would be counterproductive. Hupp did order Shillingburg to complete 600 hours of community service in New York.

During the sentencing hearing, Pollack submitted letters written in support of his client. Pollack also called members of Shillingburg’s family to testify on the defendant’s behalf.

Valerie Hall

Hall, represented by attorney Michael A. Araj, had pleaded no contest to the manufacturing charge. Hall had no prior criminal history. Shillingburg entered an Alford plea to his charge. Under an Alford plea, a defendant maintains his or her innocence but admits the evidence could be sufficient for a finding of guilt.

Authorities say the offense took place on June 3, 2013. However, the case did not go to a grand jury until July 16, 2014. The grand jury indicted Hall and Shillingburg on charges of manufacturing methamphetamine, conspiracy and possessing the precursors to make the drug.

Shillingburg testified at the sentencing that he and Hall were aware of the investigation conducted at his residence when authorities executed the search warrant in June 2013. Shillingburg and Hall moved to New York several months later. Authorities had not yet charged anyone in connection with the methamphetamine manufacturing operation. Shillingburg testified that some time later he and Hall were stopped but then let go.