Man faces prison for threatening judge, fleeing arrest

William Grim

WOODSTOCK – A Shenandoah County man faces prison time for threatening a judge and striking a law enforcement officer with his vehicle while fleeing arrest in 2016.

William Walter Grim Jr., 62, of Mount Jackson, appeared in Shenandoah County Circuit Court on Wednesday with his attorney Allison Neal. Grim pleaded guilty to one count each of stalking someone while the subject of a protective order; obstruction of justice and assault and battery of a law enforcement officer and eluding law enforcement. Grim entered Alford pleas to the charges by which the defendant maintains his innocence but feels that pleading guilty is in his best interests.

A grand jury had indicted Grim on charges of violating a protective order by stalking on Aug. 5, 2016; obstruction of justice and stalking on Aug. 16, 2016; eluding, obstruction of justice, assault and battery of a law enforcement officer and driving too fast for road conditions on Aug. 17, 2016.*

Judge Dennis L. Hupp accepted an agreement reached between the commonwealth and Grim’s attorney that calls for the defendant to plead guilty to the charges. In exchange for Grim’s pleas, the court dismissed his remaining charges of obstruction of justice, stalking and driving too fast for road conditions.

The agreement also calls for a cap on the time Grim must serve in prison at five years. The four charges carry a maximum total punishment of 20 years. Hupp scheduled Grim’s sentencing for June 20.

At the hearing Wednesday, Hupp asked Grim if he took any medication. Grim said he “quit” taking his medication. Hupp asked Grim if he understood what was happening during the proceedings and the defendant replied: “some of it I can, some I can’t.”

“You understand what’s going on around?” Hupp asked, to which Grim said replied “Yes.”

When asked if he had read the indictments, Grim said he couldn’t remember all of them. Hupp later explained to Grim what entering Alford pleas of guilty meant.

Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney Louis Campola and Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Kristen Zalenski provided proffers of the evidence to the judge, which the defense did not dispute.

Shenandoah County Sheriff’s Office Deputy H.A. Painter responded to a call for a suspicious person in the area of 50 Burkholder Lane, New Market, at 10:34 p.m. Aug. 5, 2016. A caller reported an SUV in the area of the nursing home sitting along the road with the lights off. New Market police Officer G.F. Smoot arrived, located the vehicle – parked half in the road and the other in a person’s yard – and identified Grim as the driver. Grim told the officer he was looking at land and then stated he was just sitting there because it was a quiet place to enjoy his drink. Eventually Grim said he was there because the vehicle had quit running.

Painter checked the passenger area for weapons but found a picture of Grim and his wife, which the deputy said seemed odd. Painter went inside and spoke with the caller,  who stated Grim had been in and out of the area several times. The caller said a woman would come to the nursing home during the day to site with a resident. However, that woman had not been at the nursing home for about a month, the caller told the deputy. Painter went back and advised Grim that he needed to stay away from the area and not come back. Grim said he understood and then left. A short time later dispatch notified Painter that Grim’s wife was actually in the nursing home sitting with a resident while Grim was outside. Grim was the respondent of a protective order where his wife and the other woman were the petitioners.

Shenandoah County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Jordan Umstead responded at around 3 p.m. on Aug. 16, 2016, to a report of a phone call about threats. Grim had called the Shenandoah County Emergency Communications Center and told them to pass on a message to Judge Kevin Black. His message was “If my misses is out with someone else that he is in trouble because he is the one that signed the protective order and that’s not a threat, it is a promise.”

Dispatchers received a call later that afternoon from someone advising that Grim was driving laps around the General District Court House on Mill Road in Woodstock. Deputy Umstead arrived at the courthouse and spoke with Grim. When the deputy asked Grim why he was there, Grim said he was just taking in the scenery. Umstead told Grim that he needed to leave and the defendant did. Umstead went before a magistrate around 6:24 p.m. and obtained warrants for obstruction of justice and stalking. Grim called 911 at 9:09 p.m. and told them he would park his car at the trash containers on Orkney Grade to take a nap. Deputies arrived at the location but did not find Grim.

Umstead saw Grim at Main Street and Conicville Boulevard at 9:40 p.m. pulling into the First Bank parking lot. Grim stepped out of his vehicle and Umstead placed him under arrest. When Umstead arrived at the processing center, he served Grim with two misdemeanor warrants.

Law enforcement officers saw Grim driving on Interstate 81 on Aug. 17. The vehicle left the highway at the New Market exit and traveled on West Old Cross Road. It then pulled into Bo’s Express convenience store. Investigators had a felony bench warrant for Grim’s arrest.

Grim rolled down the window as officers approached his vehicle and an investigator asked him to step out. Grim stated to officers: “I went to jail last night. I’m not going tonight.”

Grim rolled up the window and started to drive the vehicle from the parking lot. All four officers advised Grim to stop, and at one point the driver shook his head “no” in response. His vehicle struck an investigator in the lower left leg as the driver tried to leave. Grim fled the parking lot and exited on to Cadet Road. Authorities followed him with their lights and sirens on as he traveled on East Old Cross Road then south on I-81. Speeds reached 80 mph during the pursuit that eventually was discontinued.

While incarcerated, Grim underwent an evaluation of his clinical status and ability to continue legal proceedings

Grim had been transferred from Middle River Regional Jail to Western State Hospital on Aug. 31, 2016, for evaluations of his competency to stand trial and his mental state at the time of the offenses. The hospital later received a court order to treat and restore Grim’s competency to stand trial. A copy of the report dated Aug. 7, 2017, prepared by Clinical Psychologist Brett Gardner, indicates Grim suffered from numerous cognitive and medical, brain-related concerns. A doctor cited in the report had noted Grim’s memory had improved and his judgment appeared more flexible. The doctor indicated Grim still showed neurocognitive deficits in reasoning and judgment impaired his decision-making.

According to the report, Grim could not at the time identify any of his attorneys by name. Gardner later noted Grim had showed improvement. Gardner stated in the report that he found “Grim’s psychiatric symptoms do currently impair his capacity to understand proceedings meaningfully and to rationally collaborate with counsel.”

Grim pleaded guilty in Augusta County Circuit Court on Dec. 15 to two counts of assault on a law enforcement officer for which he received five-year prison terms with four years and six months suspended on each charge. Grim received a five-year prison term with four years suspended for one count of felony eluding police.

Online records indicate Grim tried to buy a firearm while the subject of a protective order on Aug. 21, 2016, in Harrisonburg or Rockingham County. A judge in Harrisonburg-Rockingham County General District Court found him guilty of the misdemeanor on Nov. 2, 2017, and sentenced him to six months in jail, all time suspended. The court dismissed Grim’s other charge of making a false statement on an application to buy a firearm, a Class 5 felony.

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