Court drops vandalism charges against woman
WOODSTOCK – A long-standing feud between Shenandoah County residents bubbled up in Circuit Court on Tuesday.
Authorities accused Catherine Elizabeth Rec of damaging three vehicles owned by neighbors on July 6, 2017. Rec appeared in Shenandoah County Circuit Court with her attorney Victoria Shea. Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Kristen Zalenski prosecuted the case.
The court initially scheduled Rec’s appearance for a hearing on the commonwealth’s motion to revoke the defendant’s bond. The prosecution accused Rec of violating a condition of her release on bond by contacting one of the victims, Bonnie Miller, on May 20.
Instead, parties presented Judge Dennis L. Hupp with an agreement in which Rec would pay $500 through the court as restitution to Bonnie and Robert Miller that would cover the owners’ insurance deductible. In exchange for Rec signing what is known as a “peace bond,” the commonwealth agreed to ask the court to dismiss the defendant’s three charges of felony destruction of property. Hupp noted the unusual manner by which the parties agreed to resolve the case. Hupp then accepted the peace bond and ordered Rec to pay the restitution as agreed upon. Shea said her client intended to pay the amount that day.
Bad blood between Rec and the Millers has persisted for some time, Zalenski told Hupp.
Zalenski contended that “significant evidentiary issues” also led to parties coming to the resolution. No one actually saw Rec spray paint the vehicles, Zalenski said. The prosecutor noted that possible evidence included comments made to Robert Miller and other comments he overheard a neighbor say. Robert Miller confronted the neighbor, who denied making the comments, Zalenski said.
Additionally, parties disputed how much restitution Rec would owe to the victims, Zalenski explained.
A criminal complaint dated July 11 and filed with Rec’s three felony counts of destruction of property states that Shenandoah County Sheriff’s Office Deputy W.M. Poff responded to 4112 S. Middle Road on July 6, 2017 for a report of vandalized vehicles. The complaint states that the victim told the deputy that the accused said on July 10, 2017, “I got your car now.” Damage to each vehicle ranged from $1,000 to $8,000, the deputy states.
The victims removed paint from one of the vehicles, Zalenski said.