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Woman faces prison for making meth near children

Bridget Knicely

WOODSTOCK – A Shenandoah County woman pleaded guilty Wednesday to charges of making methamphetamine near children at her home in 2016.

Bridget L. Knicely appeared in Shenandoah County Circuit Court where she entered guilty pleas to one count each of manufacturing methamphetamine, possession of methamphetamine, child endangerment and manufacturing methamphetamine in the presence of a child.

Judge Clark A. Ritchie accepted an agreement reached between Commonwealth’s Attorney Amanda Wiseley and Knicely’s lawyer C. Todd Gilbert that called for the defendant to plead guilty to the four charges. In exchange for her guilty pleas, the agreement called for the prosecution to dismiss the remaining charges against the defendant. Ritchie granted the motion to dismiss the remaining charges. Authorities also accused Knicely of violating the terms of her probation imposed for previous convictions of drug offenses and child cruelty.

The judge ordered the charges to which Knicely pleaded guilty transferred to Frederick County Circuit Court for sentencing. Knicely stands charged in Frederick County with manufacturing a controlled substance, possession of a controlled substance and possession of more than 10 grams of methamphetamine with the intent to distribute.

Knicely’s co-defendant, Kevin M. Powers, of Stephens City, pleaded guilty in July in Shenandoah County Circuit Court to manufacturing methamphetamine, possession of methamphetamine, child endangerment and making methamphetamine in the presence of a child under the age of 15. Judge Dennis L. Hupp accepted a plea agreement in Powers’ cases, which he transferred to Frederick County Circuit Court where the defendant stands charged with offenses similar to Knicely’s.

Manufacturing methamphetamine and making the drug in the presence of children under 15 years old carries a maximum punishment of 40 years in prison. Maximum punishments for child endangerment and possession of methamphetamine are five years and 10 years, respectively.

Wiseley told Ritchie on Wednesday during her summary of the commonwealth’s evidence that agents assigned to the Northwest Virginia Regional Drug Task Force and workers with the Department of Social Services went to Knicely’s Edinburg home on March 23, 2016, in response to a potential case of child endangerment. Knicely was not home and agents instead made contact at the home with the defendant’s boyfriend, Powers. Agents searched the home and discovered items inside that later tested positive for methamphetamine, Wiseley said. Knicely has two children under the age of 15, Wiseley said.

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