Woman gets jail time in wounding

Cassandra Durham

FRONT ROYAL – A town woman accused of unlawful wounding avoided a jury trial this week by pleading guilty to a lesser crime.

Cassandra Elise Durham, 26, with a last known address of 339½ Kendrick Lane, appeared in Warren County Circuit Court on Monday for trial on a charge of unlawful wounding that stemmed from a Jan. 2 incident. Durham faced a maximum sentence of up to five years in prison if convicted of unlawful wounding. Instead, she entered an Alford plea of guilt to the lesser offense of assault and battery. By entering the plea Durham maintained her innocence but decided pleading guilty was in her best interest.

The judge sentenced Durham to 12 months in jail with eight months suspended. Durham must complete 12 months of unsupervised probation. The judge ordered Durham to have no contact with the victim.

The parties had drafted questions for the jury selection process and subpoenaed potential witnesses in preparation for a trial. However, Durham’s lawyer, Howard Mannheimer and Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Anna Hammond reached an agreement in the case and presented the deal to substitute Judge John Kloch.

A criminal complaint filed in the case by Front Royal Police Department Officer Tyler Smith states that he responded to 339½ Kendrick Lane on Jan. 2 for a reported stabbing. Smith made contact with the victim getting checked out in an ambulance at the scene. The victim lived at the residence with her husband, Kevin Kannard. The victim said she came home that evening and knew her husband and another female, Cassie Durham, were inside the residence.

The victim told the officer she knocked on the door for about 30 minutes before Kannard answered the door. The victim said Kannard began to forcefully push her out of the doorway then struck her in the side while pushing her, the complaint states. Kannard held her down while Durham attacked her, the complaint states. The victim told the officer she noticed at one point she was bleeding while trying to defend herself.

The victim had red marks on her neck and cuts on her left wrist as well as down and across her arm. The victim told the officer that Durham had cut her. A nurse at Warren Memorial Hospital advised that a sharp object with a straight edge nicked a vein. Durham admitted to stabbing the victim, the complaint states.

An affidavit filed by Detective Zachary King for a warrant to search the victim’s medical records to ascertain the seriousness of her injuries roughly echo statements made by the officer on the criminal complaint. The affidavit states that Durham and the victim were involved in a physical altercation at the residence.

“During the altercation, Durham pulled a knife and (the victim) sustained the two lacerations,” the affidavit states.

Kannard, who had been subpoenaed to testify at Durham’s trial, stands charged in Warren County General District Court with one count of domestic assault and battery. A judge scheduled Kannard’s next court appearance on the charge for Feb. 20, 2019.