Woman pleads to gun, drug charges

Merranda Ward

WOODSTOCK – A woman convicted of drug and gun charges in Shenandoah County faces sentencing on more offenses in Warren County.

Merranda Sue Ward pleaded guilty in Shenandoah County Circuit Court on Wednesday to possession of a controlled substance, receiving a stolen firearm, possession of a gun with drugs, carrying a concealed weapon without a permit and obstruction of justice. Judge Clark A. Ritchie ordered the cases transferred to Warren County Circuit Court for sentencing.

The agreement reached between Ward’s lawyer, Dragana McCleary and Commonwealth’s Attorney Amanda Wiseley called for the defendant to plead guilty to the five charges and for the court to transfer the cases to Warren County Circuit Court for sentencing. The court also granted the commonwealth’s motion to dismiss Ward’s remaining charges of manufacturing a controlled substance, possession of a controlled substance and possession of marijuana.

Judge Clark A. Ritchie accepted the plea agreement and ordered the cases transferred to the Warren County court.

Woodstock police received word on Nov. 23 that Ward and a companion, Franklin Thompson Jr., the latter identified as wanted and possibly armed, were camping in the area of Pheasant Lane in town, Wiseley told the court. Officers learned that at least one of the people possessed a firearm. A bystander told officers individuals matching the descriptions of the suspects were seen at an apartment. Officers saw two people matching the suspects’ descriptions leaving the apartment. Officers confronted and detained Thompson, Wiseley said. Ward fled on foot when asked to stop but officers detained her after a short pursuit.

Ward told officers she had a gun in a bag but she didn’t know any other contents, Wiseley said. Officers arrested her for carrying a concealed firearm. Investigators searched the bag and found syringes containing suspected drugs and other paraphernalia. Ward admitted the items belonged to her. The substances tested positive for methamphetamine, Wiseley said.

The prosecutor noted that Ward faces serious charges in Warren County. A grand jury in Warren County Circuit Court on Monday indicted Ward on one count of sodomy involving a child under the age of 13. Ward also stands charged in the court on one count each of possession of a controlled substance, a prisoner destroying a fire-protection system and receiving stolen goods. Ward is scheduled to appear in the court on Oct. 15.

Online records for Shenandoah County Circuit Court or General District Court show no cases involving Franklin Thompson Jr.