FRONT ROYAL - Michelle “Missy” Henry, the Front Royal-Warren County Economic Development Authority's former administrative assistant who was arrested in June on two felony counts of embezzlement, will continue to be held without bond.
Henry and Jennifer McDonald, the EDA’s former executive director charged with 12 felony counts of embezzlement and obtaining money by false pretenses, are the only people charged by a special grand jury empaneled to investigate potential financial wrongdoings within the EDA, town, county, schools and Sheriff’s Office.
Henry is being held without bond at the Prince William County Adult Detention Center while McDonald is being held without bond at the Fairfax County Adult Detention Center. Rappahannock-Shenandoah-Warren Regional Jail Superintendent Russ Gilkison cited the high profile nature of the cases as the reason for their relocation from the local jail. He added that Henry has relatives, including a son, who works in local law enforcement.
Henry was initially denied bond on June 25 by Judge Thomas Horne, who was substituting in Warren County Circuit Court that day. He opted to leave the decision up to Judge Clifford L. Athey, who had presided over all other EDA-related cases to that point.
Although Athey was in the courthouse Friday overseeing the special grand jury across the hall, he did not appear to decide on Henry’s bond.
Judge William W. Sharp, who became Warren County Circuit Court’s presiding judge on July 1, explained when Henry was before him that he had already recused himself from all EDA cases. The reason for that recusal was that he is too familiar with individuals surrounding the EDA situation.
Ryan Nuzzo and David Hensley, Henry’s lawyers, filed motions Thursday in circuit court stating that at the very least their client should be moved from Prince William to a closer locality.
The court filing states that the Prince William jail “has an incredibly limited visitation schedule, including for legal visits, and has no direct phone line from which Counsel may contact their client.”
The filing states that Henry is now being held 44 miles away from Warren County while she could be moved to the Northwestern Regional Adult Detention Center in Winchester, which is 27 miles away.
The filing notes that while there may be good reasons to move Henry from Warren County, the chosen location “is unduly unfair to her access to Counsel and her family.”
It adds that Henry’s case will include “voluminous discovery” that requires “extensive review” and not moving her closer to Warren County “would be a denial of her due process rights and her rights to a fair trial.”
Henry will appear again in circuit court at 9 a.m. Tuesday when Judge Bruce D. Albertson - the 26th Judicial Circuit of Virginia's presiding judge - is scheduled to be present.