FRONT ROYAL – A judge on Tuesday allowed a man accused of dealing heroin to go to the funeral of his son who died recently of a drug overdose.

Norman Eldridge Wilkinson Jr. appeared in Warren County General District Court where he stands charged with distribution of a schedule I or II controlled substance. Wilkinson’s attorney John S. Bell asked Judge W. Dale Houff to grant his client a bond to attend the funeral later that day and then return to Rappahannock-Shenandoah-Warren Regional Jail where he remains incarcerated.

Houff expressed reluctance to grant Wilkinson’s temporary release from jail but noted the family’s situation and the “irony” of the defendant’s son’s death.

The motion states that the defendant asks the court to set a limited bond to attend the funeral of his son, Benjamin Robert Wilkinson, at Maddox Funeral Home in Front Royal. Wilkinson was being held without bond at RSW Regional Jail because he had charges pending in Prince William County.

Members of Wilkinson’s family appeared in court to support the defendant’s request. Wilkinson’s nephew testified before Houff that he would keep an eye on his uncle and make sure he complied with the conditions of the bond.

Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Bryan Layton said he opposed the defendant’s request for a bond. Layton noted that Wilkinson had a criminal history and stands accused of dealing heroin in the county.

Wilkinson, 60, of 624 Warren Ave., Front Royal, also is charged in Prince William County General District Court with possession of a controlled substance. A judge in the Prince William County court granted Wilkinson’s bond request last week.

Documents on file in Warren County General District Court and Circuit Court identify the defendant as Norman Wilkenson, Wilkenson II and Norman Wilkinson Jr.

Warren County authorities accused Wilkinson of distributing a schedule I or II controlled substance on Nov. 13, according to an arrest warrant. The related criminal complaint states that a “reliable confidential informant” made a controlled purchase of heroin from Lisa Madison and Wilkinson at 624 Warren Ave. During the purchase, Wilkinson handed the heroin to Madison, who then gave the drugs to the informant, the complaint states. The informant used money provided by the Virginia State Police to make the purchase. The substance tested positive for heroin, the complaint states.

Authorities charged Madison, 53, of 624 Warren Ave., with distribution of a controlled substance identified as heroin, related to the alleged Nov. 13 offense.

Authorities searched Wilkinson’s home shortly after his arrest and recovered suspected marijuana, metal spoons with residue, hypodermic needles in tubes, a bag of used cotton balls, several digital scales with residue, baggies and a container with marijuana, glass crack pipes, aluminum foil, packaging material, cellphones, drug paraphernalia, containers with pills, a baggie with white residue, and a “vape” pen.

Wilkinson’s criminal record includes convictions on various drug possession and distribution charges, according to a checklist used by the magistrate to set bail if any.

Front Royal police charged Wilkinson with possession of cocaine on July 16 after responding to a drug overdose reported at his residence on Feb. 19, 2018. The associated criminal complaint states Officer O.N. Meadows collected two vials of blood from Wilkinson as the result of a drug overdose and sent the samples to the Department of Forensic Science laboratory. The blood tested positive for fentanyl and cocaine, the complaint states.

Wilkinson later pleaded no contest in Warren County Circuit Court on Nov. 27 to one count each of possession of cocaine and possession of a schedule II controlled substance. The court dismissed his remaining charge of possession of fentanyl per a plea agreement. The judge sentenced Wilkinson to 10 years in prison for possession of cocaine but suspended all the time on the condition that the defendant complete three years of supervised probation.

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