FRONT ROYAL — Missy Henry, the Front Royal-Warren County Economic Development Authority’s former administrative assistant, was granted bond in Warren County Circuit Court on Tuesday by Judge Bruce D. Albertson.
Henry, who has been indicted on two felony counts of embezzlement, was arrested June 24 and has since been held in the Prince William County Adult Detention Center. The decision on bond was initially delayed by substitute Judge Thomas Horne, who left the decision to Judge Clifford L. Athey, who has presided over other EDA-related matters. As Athey prepares to take a position on the Virginia Court of Appeals, Albertson — who is presiding over the case after Judge William W. Sharpe recused himself — said the “bond issue is squarely before me.”
While Henry was not one of the nine defendants in the EDA’s $17.6 million embezzlement and misappropriation lawsuit, her name is mentioned in one of the allegations outlined in a report by Cherry Bekaert, the firm hired to investigate the authority’s finances. Before making the decision to grant Henry bond, Albertson reviewed that report as the prosecution offered no additional evidence. That report states that Henry was allegedly involved in a series of embezzlements that centered around the EDA’s ownership of the B&G Goods store.
Henry was the second individual, along with former EDA executive director Jennifer McDonald, indicted by a special grand jury that was empaneled to investigate the misuse of funds within the authority, town, county, schools and the Sheriff’s Office.
In granting Henry a $2,500 secured bond, Albertson noted that although the charges against Henry are serious offenses, she appears to be a person who was assisting a “higher-up” in McDonald. He noted that the allegations against Henry are non-violent property offenses and that she has no criminal record. He added that her husband’s medical conditions render him unable to travel well and there is a low likelihood that they will flee.
Albertson said that conditions of the bond include that Henry display good behavior and not have any contact with the nine defendants in the EDA’s civil lawsuit. Other conditions include that Henry reside in her home, not use alcohol or drugs, seek employment and stay off EDA property.
Before Albertson made his decision, Henry’s lawyer Ryan Nuzzo said it was a “clear cut” decision to grant her bond.
Nuzzo noted that she voluntarily appeared before and cooperated with the special grand jury and did not flee before her arrest, although “she had opportunity to run.” He added that Henry has “numerous ties to the area,” including a house and many family members who were present in court. He added that Henry needs to be released to properly mount a defense as there will be “boxes of files” to review that could not be properly done from jail.
Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Bryan Layton said his argument against bond remained the same as the position he took in Henry’s June bond hearing. According to previous reports, he noted in June that Henry appears to have been McDonald’s “right hand” and she should be held without bond due to the “totality of circumstances.” He also noted that some charges against McDonald relate to wire transfers in which Henry usually had a role but she “has not yet been charged for that.”
Henry is slated to appear at 8:30 a.m. July 31 in the Circuit Court for a hearing regarding a motion. Nuzzo said after the Tuesday hearing that the motion essentially requests more detailed information relating to the charges leveled against Henry.