FRONT ROYAL – A judge found a U.S. Army officer not guilty this week of brandishing a firearm while intoxicated and riding a horse in March.
Mariah Carol Smith, 40, of 1111 Army-Navy Drive, Arlington, stood charged with reckless handling of a firearm, brandishing a firearm and carrying a gun in public while under the influence of alcohol. Smith appeared in Warren County General District Court on Wednesday with her defense attorney John Kayonaga for a hearing on the three misdemeanor charges.
Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Bryan Layton prosecuted the case.
Judge W. Dale Houff found Smith not guilty of brandishing a firearm and possessing a weapon while intoxicated. Houff delayed disposition on the charge of reckless handling of a firearm to Dec. 18. The judge ordered Smith to remain on six months of unsupervised probation and to complete 500 hours of community service during that time. Parties also agreed that Smith would forfeit her weapon while on probation and take a firearms safety course. Smith agreed to not ride a horse on Reliance Road, according to court documents.
Warren County Sheriff’s Deputy M.A. Robinson arrested Smith on the three misdemeanor charges March 2.
Robinson states in a criminal complaint that he responded to a report of someone brandishing and firing a weapon on Reliance Road. Robinson made contact with Smith, who was suspected of possessing a firearm. The deputy states he removed a .38-caliber pistol from Smith’s left jacket pocket. Robinson read Smith her Miranda rights and she denied brandishing or shooting the firearm, the complaint states.
A husband and wife told Robinson that Smith was riding a horse when they told her she wasn’t allowed to ride in the area, the complaint states. The witnesses stated that Smith then pulled a pistol and fired the weapon in the air, according to the complaint.
“The revolver removed from the accused had one spent shell casing in the cylinder, in the position of being the last fired,” the complaint states. “(Smith) does have an odor of (an) alcoholic beverage coming from her person but no other signs of impairment.”
Authorities took Smith into custody and transported her to the magistrate’s office. A checklist used by the magistrate to determine a bail amount, if any, states that Smith lives in Arlington but owns a farm with her parents in Stephens City. Smith told the magistrate she serves as a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army and has 19 years of service, the checklist states.
The magistrate notes on the checklist that the defendant had a .38-caliber firearm on her and witnesses said: “she fired it into the air to scare them.” The magistrate goes on to state that Smith has an odor of alcohol. Per Smith, she has a concealed weapons permit from Florida under her married name Mariah Taylor, the magistrate notes.
The magistrate described Smith as “very polite and cooperative” and set her bail at $2,500 unsecured.
A spokesman for U.S. Central Command states in an email May 19 that the agency knew of the situation but does “not comment on pending civilian law enforcement or potential internal personnel matters.”