WOODSTOCK – A man accused of strangling a woman in 2017 faces a new charge under Virginia’s “hate crime” statute.
A Shenandoah County Grand Jury handed up three indictments in Circuit Court on Wednesday charging Jonathan Jerome Judy with strangulation, abduction and assault and battery against the same alleged victim “with said assault and battery committed because of her race, religious conviction, color or national origin and resulting in bodily injury to the woman.” State code classifies the specific charge in the indictment as a hate crime.
Judy, 44, of Maysville, West Virginia, remains held without bond at Rappahannock-Shenandoah-Warren Regional Jail.
Commonwealth’s Attorney Amanda Wiseley commented in an email Thursday as to why she sought the indictment on the hate crime charge.
“Evidence came to light with regard to statements the Defendant made after his arrest that supported the indictment,” Wiseley states in the email.
Statements made after Judy’s arrest would not appear in a criminal complaint, Wiseley explained.
Authorities arrested Judy on Nov. 13, 2017, on charges of strangulation and misdemeanor assault. He was granted release on bond four days later. The charges originated in General District Court where it was continued half a dozen times before a judge certified the strangulation count to a grand jury on Nov. 19, 2018. The judge dismissed the assault charge at the prosecutor’s request.
A criminal complaint filed with the original charges states that the Woodstock Police Department responded to a report of an assault. A woman said that a man staying at the Econo Lodge pushed her down in the laundry room of the hotel and got on top of her, the complaint states. The man used one hand to choke the woman while he stuck his other hand down her throat, according to the complaint. The woman said she could not breathe at times during the alleged assault, the complaint states. The woman and her husband identified Judy as the accused based on an earlier interaction with the suspect about a hotel room.
Judy remained free on bond until a grand jury indicted him on Dec. 12, charging him only with felony strangulation of a woman in Shenandoah County on June 2017.
Judge Clark A. Ritchie ordered the Office of the Commonwealth’s Attorney to provide all potential evidence to Judy’s defense counsel by Jan. 28, 2019. The court scheduled a trial for trial May 3 but then moved the case to May 1 for a plea hearing. The court rescheduled the plea hearing for May 8 but then granted a motion to set the case for a jury trial for this past Tuesday.
However, at Judy’s appearance Tuesday, Wiseley asked Judge Kevin C. Black to dismiss the case at the prosecutor’s request because she received more evidence the night before. Black granted the motion over the objection of Judy’s defense attorney, Dragana McCleary. The defense argued that Wiseley’s office had not provided potential exculpatory evidence since Judge Ritchie entered the order in January. McCleary argued that Wiseley’s failing to provide evidence to the defense until the day of the trial, whether or not the prosecution intended to use the material, unfairly prejudiced the defendant.
McCleary made a motion asking the judge to either deny Wiseley’s motion, which the defense attorney said amounted to another continuance because it would allow the prosecutor to bring back the charge as a new indictment, or to outright dismiss the charge. McCleary told the judge that her client was ready for trial regardless of whether or not the prosecution was prepared.
Black denied McCleary’s motion to dismiss. The judge said it did not appear that Wiseley willfully withheld evidence. Black granted Wiseley’s motion to dismiss that allowed the prosecutor to again indict Judy on the strangulation charge. Wiseley indicted Judy the next day on Wednesday.