WOODSTOCK – A man who broke into an elderly couple’s home in Shenandoah County in 2017 and swung a metal rod at the victims must serve a month in jail.
Judge Clark A. Ritchie sentenced Tony Duke Wilberg in Shenandoah County Circuit Court to three years with two years and 11 months suspended on one count of felony destruction of property. The judge also sentenced Wilberg, 34, of Richmond, to 12 months in jail, all time suspended, for one misdemeanor count each of assault and battery and unlawful entry.
Charles Ramsey represented Wilberg. Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Amanda Strecky prosecuted the case. An agreement reached between the attorneys called for Wilberg to plead guilty to destruction of property and assault, and for the court to change his original felony charge of breaking and entering to misdemeanor unlawful entry, to which he also pleaded guilty. The court dismissed Wilberg’s remaining charges of felony assault and battery on a law enforcement officer and misdemeanor assault and battery on an emergency medical care worker.
Ritchie accepted the plea agreement and sentenced Wilberg to the terms as outlined. Ritchie ordered Wilberg to complete three years of supervised probation followed by two years of good behavior or unsupervised probation.
Ritchie granted a defense counsel request to let Wilberg serve his sentence on weekends if so allowed by Rappahannock-Shenandoah-Warren Regional Jail. The judge noted that he normally would not allow weekend service but noted that Wilberg already had paid restitution owed to the victims.
Strecky provided a statement of evidence the commonwealth planned to put on had the case gone to trial. Shenandoah County deputy Scott Thompson responded to a breaking and entering in progress on Main Street in Edinburg around 7 p.m., June 16, 2017, Strecky said. Wilberg broke into the house through a window, startling the couple inside. The male victim approached Wilberg who was seen swinging a metal rod, Strecky said. The suspect appeared to be drooling, unsteady on his feet and in need of help, the prosecutor said. At one point Wilberg struck the male victim in the face. The victim chose not to seek medical attention, Strecky said.
The deputy took Wilberg into custody shortly after responding to the call and took the suspect to Shenandoah Memorial Hospital. A blood test for alcohol showed Wilberg had a 0.385 blood alcohol content and trace amounts of opiates, Strecky noted. Wilberg was verbally abusive to the deputy and lashed out at hospital emergency department workers when he started to “come to,” Strecky said. Hospital staff had to restrain Wilberg.
The defendant has been free on bond since shortly after his arrest.
The prosecutor said she conducted “extensive consultation” with the victims about the proposed plea agreement and punishment. The victims indicated to the prosecutor that they thought Wilberg needed help to address his substance abuse problem rather than serve a long jail sentence, Strecky told the judge. A condition of the supervised probation is that Wilberg have no contact with the victims.
But the incident did leave the elderly couple stunned.
“They are unsure about returning home,” Strecky said. “They are elderly, so it was very scary for them.”
Wilberg has taken steps to address his substance abuse problem, Strecky said. Wilberg does not live in the area – one reason why he asked to serve the jail sentence on weekends, the court learned.
Wilberg spoke briefly before Ritchie imposed his sentence.
“I want to apologize to the victims,” Wilberg said. “I’m very sorry for what I have done. I just want to get it corrected.”