Man gets jail for role in robbery, abduction

Brian Shea

WOODSTOCK – A Shenandoah County man must serve jail time for playing a role in what a prosecutor called an “unusual” a robbery and abduction in November.

Judge Dennis L. Hupp sentenced Brian Edward Shea, 31, of 102 W. North St., Woodstock, in Shenandoah County Circuit Court on Wednesday to eight years in prison for committing two counts of abduction. Hupp suspended all the time except one year and six months. The judge also ordered Shea to have no contact with the victims in the case and to complete supervised probation upon release.

An agreement reached between Commonwealth’s Attorney Amanda Wiseley and Shea’s lawyer Brad Pollack called for the defendant to plead guilty to two counts of abduction. The court granted Wiseley’s motion to dismiss Shea’s remaining counts of robbery and grand larceny. The agreement also set forth the punishment as imposed by Hupp. Abduction carries a maximum punishment of 10 years in prison.

Authorities accused Adrian P. Brown, Philip L. Runion, Aaron M. Branham and Shea of conspiring on Nov. 24 to enter a residence at 113 S. Church St., Woodstock, to make one of the occupants in the home leave, according to court documents and information provided by Wiseley. The prosecutor told the judge that the victims did not report the incident until three days later. The victims told authorities that the four defendants entered the home with weapons and held three people inside against their will. The co-defendants then also stole items from the residence and caused damage to property in the home, authorities said.

Wiseley provided more information about Shea’s specific involvement in the incident. Shea, who appeared intoxicated during the incident, started yelling about the condition of the residence. Shea picked up a hammer and demanded that the victims clean the house, Wiseley said. The victims were in fear for their safety, Wiseley added.

Shea did not take any items from the residence, the prosecutor said. None of the victims suffered injuries in the incident, Wiseley said.

Pollack did not object to the commonwealth’s summary of its evidence.

Shea told the judge he had a felony conviction for possession of methamphetamine and assault and battery of a law enforcement officer out of Rockingham County Circuit Court in 2011.

Documents in Shenandoah County Circuit Court indicate that Shea at one point wanted a judge to appoint a new defense attorney to take his case. Shea states in handwritten letter to Hupp dated June 12 that he feels Pollack “is not representing me to the fullest.” Shea goes on to state that he never had a hearing to determine if the court would release him on bond. Shea adds that Pollack provided several excuses as to why he wouldn’t ask the court to grant his client bond: that the Commonwealth’s Attorney would not let him out; that he’s doing at least a year in jail; and he would have no one to post bond if granted one by the court. Shea also argued in the letter that he has not seen or received discovery evidence in his case.

Hupp sent a letter dated June 19 to Pollack and Wiseley informing the attorneys he had not read any correspondence sent to him by Shea so as to avoid reading any communication between the defendant and his legal counsel.