WOODSTOCK – A Shenandoah County jury found a Woodstock man guilty Wednesday of running from authorities while in police custody last year.
Brandon Christopher Watson-Kaufman appeared in Shenandoah County Circuit Court where he faced a jury trial on a charge of fleeing law enforcement while in their custody after they arrested him on an outstanding warrant for a felony charge. Watson-Kaufman, 33, of 161 Lora Drive, also stands charged in the court with one count each of forcible sodomy and taking indecent liberties with a child under the age of 15.
The jury did not recommend a sentence for Watson-Kaufman, according to a court clerk. The jury did recommend a judge impose a $2,000 fine against the defendant. Fleeing law enforcement while the subject of an arrest warrant, a Class 6 felony, carries a maximum punishment of up to five years in the state penitentiary or 12 months in jail and a $2,500 fine.
The court set Watson-Kaufman’s sentencing for April 17 – the same day as his scheduled jury trial for his other two charges.
Watson-Kaufman has remained held at the Rappahannock-Shenandoah-Warren Regional Jail without bond since his arrest April 12.
A conviction of forcible sodomy can carry a maximum punishment of life in prison. A conviction of taking indecent liberties with a child under the age of 15, as a Class 5 felony, would carry a punishment of up to 10 years in prison or no more than 12 months in jail and a fine of up to $2,500.
Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Austin D. Hovermale prosecuted the case. Assistant Public Defender Peter McDermott and attorney Michelle Miller represented Watson-Kaufman.
A child under the age of 15 years old reported to Woodstock police Sgt. W. Mauck on April 9 that Watson-Kaufman had sexually assaulted her while at a party at a residence in town on April 8, according to a criminal complaint dated April 11 and written by Shenandoah County Sheriff’s Office Lt. Scotty Thompson. The girl stated during a forensic interview that Watson-Kaufman grabbed the back of her head and forced her against her will to perform a sex act on him, the complaint states.
Watson-Kaufman had entered a bedroom where the girl was lying on the bed, according to the complaint. The girl said the accused locked the bedroom door and placed a sofa in front of the door, the complaint states. Witnesses placed the accused in the bedroom and told authorities the girl looked visibly upset and was crying when she came out of the room, according to the complaint.
Woodstock police attempted to arrest Watson-Kaufman on April 11 on a warrant for sodomy and indecent liberties. Town police officer J.D. Wilberger states in his criminal complaint filed with the felony fleeing law enforcement that he made contact with Watson-Kaufman at a Lora Drive residence to serve the outstanding felony arrest warrant.
“I had taken control of the accused’s left arm and informed him that there was a warrant out for his arrest,” a document filed in the charge states. “The accused was clothed only in his underwear.
“As we attempted to escort the accused to his bedroom to retrieve clothes, the accused broke from my grip and ran to his bedroom where he retrieved a knife and begin (sic) to cut himself,” the document goes on to state. “A taser was deployed, causing the accused to cease his actions and the accused was transported to Shenandoah Memorial Hospital where he was medically cleared.”