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Arrest Made in Deadly Appalachian Trail Stabbing

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Abingdon, VA – United States Attorney Thomas T. Cullen and David W. Archey, the Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Richmond Division, announced on May 12th, an arrest in a deadly stabbing incident that occurred along the Appalachian Trail in Wythe County, Virginia that left one person dead and another severely injured.

James L. Jordan 30, of West Yarmouth, Massachusetts, was arrested in the early morning hours of Saturday, May 11, 2019 on a federal criminal complaint. Jordan is charged with one count of murder within the special maritime territorial jurisdiction of the United States and one count of assault with the intent to murder within the special maritime territorial jurisdiction of the United States.

“I commend local law enforcement in Wythe and Smyth Counties for mobilizing successful rescue and tactical operations in this remote region,” U.S. Attorney Cullen stated. “Thanks to their efforts, the suspect was safely apprehended and a seriously wounded victim received critical medical care. We will continue to work with our state and local partners to bring the perpetrator of this senseless and brutal attack to justice.”

This investigation is ongoing. The federal charges against Jordan will be officially filed in U.S. District Court in Abingdon Monday morning. The defendant will have an initial court appearance in federal court in Abingdon on Monday, May 13, 2019.

A criminal complaint is only a charge and not evidence of guilt. The defendant is entitled to a fair trial with the burden on the government to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

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Defense motions filed in Biggs Drive massage parlor case

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Mayor Hollis Tharpe speaks with constituent following March 25 council meeting, three weeks prior to his indictment and five weeks prior to his resignation as mayor. Royal Examiner File Photo/Roger Bianchini

On Friday, May 17, just two days after her arrest the attorney for a woman facing multiple charges related to an alleged prostitution operation being run out of a massage parlor at 312 Biggs Drive in Front Royal has filed Discovery Motions on his client’s behalf. Cynthia Atkinson Bailey attorney David Downes also questioned whether dates referenced in the complaint against his client might indicate a one-year statute of limitations on at least some charges may have expired.

Later on Friday Downes issued a press release in which he called his client’s prosecution “retaliatory” and “selective” due to her assertion to authorities that she would plead her Fifth Amendment right not to self-incriminate if asked to testify regarding clients, one in particular (see related story).

Bailey, 55, was arrested by Front Royal Police along with three other people on May 15, and charged with maintaining a “bawdy (defined as gross, indecent or overly graphic) place”, receiving money from earnings of prostitution, prostitution, and cruelty to children. According to the felony warrant the latter charge involved the presence of a juvenile in the residence who “answered phone calls, arranged appointments and walked clients to the rooms.”

Also arrested on similar or related charges were Brandy Nicole Atkinson, Jesse Thomas Atkinson and Joshua Allan Stamper. According to Bailey attorney Downes, Brandy and Jesse Atkinson are his client’s daughter and son and Stamper is her son-in-law. The referenced juvenile may be a grandchild.

Courtesy Photos FRPD/Regional Jail System

According to an FRPD press release issued on May 16, coincidentally Cynthia Bailey’s 55th birthday, the arrests were the result of an ongoing investigation that began in late January of 2018.
It appears that investigation also resulted in the charge of solicitation of prostitution against former Front Royal Mayor Hollis Tharpe. Tharpe’s April 15, 2019 Grand Jury indictment, perhaps ironically signed by Tharpe’s old political adversary Matthew Tederick as grand jury foreman, references a May 31, 2018 incident in which Tharpe allegedly offered “money or its equivalent to another for the purpose of engaging in sexual acts … and thereafter did a substantial act in furtherance thereof against the peace and dignity of the Commonwealth …”

Bailey was initially arrested one week after the referenced Tharpe massage parlor incident, on June 7, 2018 on a charge of prostitution. That charge was dropped by the commonwealth on October 2, 2018.

Tharpe has identified Biggs Drive to this reporter as the location of the massage parlor involved in the charge against him. While maintaining his innocence, Tharpe initially placed himself on administrative leave the day the indictment was handed out. Then four days later on April 19, Tharpe announced his resignation effective May 2. In both his leave and resignation decisions, Tharpe expressed a desire not to create an undue distraction to the conduct of town government business while the prosecution is hanging over his head.

As press releases fly, plot thickens in Tharpe sex solicitation case

In fact, Bailey’s June 7, 2018 arrest for prostitution plays into defense counsel Downes’ motions filing for his client regarding the Statute of Limitations issue. Citing a one-year statute of limitations related to at least some of the charges, defense counsel notes the current charges filed on May 15, 2019, cite activities occurring between May 1 and June 7, 2018.

“Where the alleged offenses, in part, supposedly occurred two weeks after … the expiration of the statute of limitations, does the Court bar the prosecution of all or some of the Commonwealth’s case?” Downes asks, presenting two possible courses of action.

“If the Commonwealth were to amend the warrants to reflect that the offense occurred on or about May 15, 2018 to June 7, 2018, that would be in compliance with Virginia Code § 19.2-8. However, if the warrant of arrest was filed in good faith and the affiant, Detective D. L. Fogle, was unable to more precisely identify when the illegal conduct occurred, than the entire prosecution should be barred without probable cause to believe that the subject offenses occurred within the one-year statute of limitations.”

Downes may see the writing on the wall, or more precisely in the Criminal Complaint tied to Bailey’s felony warrant of receiving money “from the earnings of a person engaged in prostitution.” The complaint specifies the visit of undercover operative to the massage parlor on June 7, 2018.

So were the statute of limitations issue resolved as Downes predicts it could be, he continues to request Discovery regarding the allegations against his client, including her receiving earnings from prostitution from others; as well as raising the possibility his client is facing unconstitutional double jeopardy in being charged a second time for the same offenses leading to her initial indictment last year.

“Without identifying the specific date, or dates, that the Defendant is alleged to have committed these offenses, the Commonwealth may be unconstitutionally subjecting the Defendant to multiple punishments for the same offense,” Downes writes of the vagueness of the “on or about May 1 to June 7, 2018” timeframe cited in the warrant and her June 7, 2018 arrest.

The Criminal Complaint attached to the May 15, 2019 warrant describes Bailey and Brandy Atkinson meeting an undercover operative who was given “a menu that laid out prices and services” for hand massages by “a topless and/or panties only” masseuse “which included a ‘happy ending’.” The undercover operative then asked about “additional sexual activities such as oral sex” leading to a $150 price offer involving both women, the complaint states.

“Once the terms were established and agreed upon units converged on the residence,” the complaint describes how the police operation of June 7, 2018 concluded.

The involvement of the men charged is explained as providing security for the massage parlor operation and it is noted in parentheses “Joshua drove Brandy to the appointment on 6/07/19” though the year appears to be a typo since that date has yet to occur unless you have a time machine like famed British TV character Dr. Who’s TARDIS.

It is elaborated in the criminal complaint that Jesse Atkinson used the Biggs Drive address to obtain a business license for a “handyman/landscaping service” under the name Blue Valley Services.

That business license expired in 2017 but according to the Criminal Complaint the massage parlor advertised its services at various online sites at the Blue Valley Services business address.

“During the investigation several ads were located on Craigslist and Facebook pertaining to the massage parlor. During the investigation it was revealed that additional activities were taking place at the ‘massage parlor’,” the complaint states. One hint may have been an employment post on Craigslist noting, “Let’s face it, if you are young and pretty you will make more money here.”

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Prostitution and “Bawdy Place” on Biggs Drive: Four arrested

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On May 15, 2019, the Front Royal Police Department responded to the 300 block of Biggs Drive in continuance of an active investigation. Spotsylvania County Sheriff’s Office and the Virginia State Police also assisted. Felony and misdemeanor charges were obtained on Cynthia Atkinson Bailey, Brandy Nicole Atkinson, Jesse Thomas Atkinson and Joshua Allan Stamper related to an investigation involving prostitution and maintaining a bawdy place.

Cynthia Bailey was charged and arrested for maintaining a bawdy place, receiving money from earnings of prostitution, prostitution and cruelty to children. Brandy Atkinson was charged and arrested with maintaining a bawdy place, prostitution and cruelty to children.

Both Cynthia Bailey and Brandy Atkinson were released from RSW on a secured bond. While Jesse Atkinson is currently being held on a Probation Violation. Court dates for this incident are set for June 18, 2019, at 10:00am in General District Court and June 20, 2019, at 9:00am in Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court.

Jesse Atkinson was arrested and charged with maintaining a bawdy place and is being held at RSW Regional Jail for probation violation. Joshua Stamper was charged with maintaining a bawdy place and is currently being held at Rappahannock Regional Jail located in Stafford County on unrelated charges.

Anyone who has any further information about this investigation is asked to contact Detective D. Fogle at the Front Royal Police Department, Criminal Investigations Division at 540-636-2208 or dfogle@frontroyalva.com.

What’s a “bawdy place”?

In Virginia, all forms of prostitution are against the law. Here’s the state code on the above charges:

§ 18.2-347. Keeping, residing in or frequenting a bawdy place; “bawdy place” defined.
It shall be unlawful for any person to keep any bawdy place, or to reside in or at or visit, for immoral purposes, any such bawdy place. Each and every day such bawdy place shall be kept, resided in or visited, shall constitute a separate offense. In a prosecution under this section the general reputation of the place may be proved.

As used in this Code, “bawdy place” shall mean any place within or without any building or structure which is used or is to be used for lewdness, assignation or prostitution.

§ 18.2-346. Prostitution; commercial sexual conduct; commercial exploitation of a minor; penalties.
A. Any person who, for money or its equivalent, (i) commits adultery, fornication, or any act in violation of § 18.2-361, performs cunnilingus, fellatio, or anilingus upon or by another person, or engages in anal intercourse or (ii) offers to commit adultery, fornication, or any act in violation of § 18.2-361, perform cunnilingus, fellatio, or anilingus upon or by another person, or engage in anal intercourse and thereafter does any substantial act in furtherance thereof is guilty of prostitution, which is punishable as a Class 1 misdemeanor.

B. Any person who offers money or its equivalent to another for the purpose of engaging in sexual acts as enumerated in subsection A and thereafter does any substantial act in furtherance thereof is guilty of solicitation of prostitution, which is punishable as a Class 1 misdemeanor. However, any person who solicits prostitution from a minor (i) 16 years of age or older is guilty of a Class 6 felony or (ii) younger than 16 years of age is guilty of a Class 5 felony.

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Hoyle sentencing underscores gap between legal and psychological ‘sanity’

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Following a four-hour pre-sentencing hearing Friday, May 10, Warren County Circuit Court Judge Clifford L. Athey Jr. sentenced 34-year-old David Glynn Hoyle Jr. to 13 years of active incarceration for Second Degree Murder in the March 27, 2017 shooting death of 58-year-old Warren Ramsey. Hoyle was living with his mother, Wanda Horton, and Ramsey, her live-in boyfriend of eight years at the time of the shooting on Grand Avenue in Front Royal.

Initially charged with First Degree Murder, Hoyle faced 20 years to life in prison. However as part of a plea agreement with the commonwealth, Hoyle entered a guilty plea to Second Degree Murder. Second Degree Murder carries a sentencing range of five to 40 years. Suggested guidelines from the plea agreement carried an active incarceration range cap of 17 years on the high end to five years on the low. A second charge of use of a firearm in commission of a felony carrying a mandatory-minimum three year sentence was dropped as part of the plea agreement.

Athey prefaced his decision to sentence Hoyle to 30 years with 17 years suspended, followed by 10 years of supervised probation by citing mitigating circumstances presented by the defense team of Timothy Coyne and Ryan Nuzzo, particularly testimony from expert psychological witness Dr. William Stejskal, a clinical psychologist and forensic psychologist at the University of Virginia, School of Law; as well as earlier corroborating expert testimony from a Dr. Rawls.

That mitigating circumstance was a paranoid delusional state mimicking schizophrenia or bipolar disorder brought on by a misdiagnosis of Hoyle as bipolar from a psychiatrist whom testimony indicated has since lost her license to practice. That psychiatrist identified as Dr. Kumarappan of Falls Church at the time, prescribed extremely high doses of the drug Xanax to treat Hoyle as bipolar. More normal, lower doses of the drug are much less likely to cause the type of severe impacts Hoyle experienced, Stejskal testified. Of those severe impacts, Stejskal elaborated that they “duplicate psychotic symptoms”.

David Glynn Hoyle Jr. at the time of his March 27, 2016 arrest for Warren Ramsey’s murder; Hoyle was sporting the type of strap-on protective vest indicative of inmates believed to be a potential threat to themselves. Photos Courtesy of RSW Jail

Dr. Stejskal described the psychological problems David Hoyle has battled since childhood as a borderline personality disorder characterized by panic attacks, anxiety, depression and substance abuse. However, they are problems far short of the delusional characteristics of bipolar disorder, Stejskal testified.

On the stand Hoyle told the court he had dropped out of school in the ninth grade because he found high school “too overwhelming”. There were indications he had been bullied at earlier school levels. Other testimony indicated he had become addicted to opioids after having them prescribed following a car accident that resulted in a back injury. Hoyle also described an incident in which he was jumped and hit in the face resulting in the fracture of 97% of the orbital bone around one eye.

Hoyle expressed profound sorrow for Ramsey’s death both during his testimony and in a prepared statement to the court before sentencing. During direct examination Tim Coyne asked his client how he felt about what he had done – “I hate myself for what happened; I feel terrible. I just want to say to Warren’s family, I’m sorry, God I’m so sorry.”

In his prepared statement he told the court, “I am so sorry for the heartache and pain I have caused to my mother and Warren’s family … I am not that type of person, I still have terrible nightmares … I understand I cannot go unpunished. But I hope I can use the rest of my life to help people dealing with mental illness – I know some of these are high hopes but I will not give up on them.

“Please forgive me … Warren was a good man. He helped me at the worst time of my life. He never gave up on me … Give me more time to try to correct the wrongs I did – I can never make up for what I did. I just ask you to give me the opportunity to try …”

Defense counsel asked the court for the minimum five years of actual time served. It appears that Hoyle could be credited for the two years of time served though that was not directly addressed during sentencing. When Athey rendered his 13-years of active incarceration in prison decision, Hoyle’s mother who had quietly sobbed through much of the hearing bolted from the courtroom and surrounding family members in tears.

Earlier Hoyle’s mother Wanda, Hoyle’s older sister Candace Ramirez, younger sister Faith Horton, older brother Jason Hoyle and longtime friend Quentin Cancey all described David as a caring, respectful, helpful person who was not by nature violent at all.

However, those same family members and friend all testified to a profoundly negative change in Hoyle’s psychological state from late 2015 when he began see Dr. Kumarappan to the time of Ramsey’s death on March 27, 2017. That state was an increasingly profound paranoia that those around him, particularly Ramsey, were plotting against him; torturing him and perhaps planning to kill him.

Hoyle’s older brother Jason, who lives in New Jersey, gave 43 recorded phone messages to the defense submitted as evidence in the hearing from his brother describing in detail his delusion of being plotted against by family members in the household.

Hoyle’s older sister by two years, Ramirez, said by late 2016 she could no longer let her brother David around her children – “I didn’t recognize my brother” she testified of behavior that included banging a sledgehammer and scratching his face until it bled while looking for his prescription medication from the psychiatrist. She said she told her brother Jason she believed it was time to commit their younger brother.

Hoyle grapples with his situation and what he has done while still under influence of high doses of miss-prescribed medication that produced symptoms of psychosis, including paranoia, delusions and hallucinations.

Dr. Stejskal described Hoyle’s condition resulting from the overmedication with Xanax for a condition he did not have, including at the time he shot Ramsey, as a “medication-induced delirium” which he further defined as “an altered state of consciousness that impaired thinking, perceptions and induced hallucinations and paranoia.”

Coyne asked his client if he remembered shooting Warren Ramsey. Hoyle replied “flashes of it” including hearing his mother screaming and getting in a police car.

However, in arguing for the maximum 17 years of incarceration Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Anna Hammond pointed out that Hoyle did not meet the legal standard of insanity – “He knows what he did was wrong … He immediately knew what he did; he said he was sorry,” Hammond pointed out of Hoyle’s statements to police who responded to the scene and in an interview with Detective Landin Waller a short time after his arrest.

Asked by Waller what caused him to shoot Ramsey, Hoyle replied, “I was scared.”

“Why did you do it?” Waller pressed.

“He tortures me,” Hoyle said, adding that Ramsey abused him and his dog – “He’s only eight pounds,” Hoyle said of the dog. During her testimony, Hoyle’s mother said every time her son heard
the dog bark in another part of the house or yard he thought he was being tortured.

“Did he say something to you tonight or make you scared so you did this? What was the tipping point,” Waller asked of the shooting.

“I don’t know,” Hoyle whimpered in reply, adding, “He didn’t deserve to be shot. I didn’t want to shoot him.”

“He shot Mr. Ramsey a minimum of 10 times,” Hammond noted of Hoyle’s emptying the 9-mm semi-automatic pistol clip at Ramsey as he sat on a couch in a family room with his mother and what police described as “other family members” present.

Hammond also pointed to Hoyle’s history of illegal drug abuse and failed attempts at therapy at Northwestern Community Center. Could his admitted use of marijuana while on the high-doses of Xanax accentuated the negative impact of the drug on him, Hammond asked the court.

The assistant commonwealth’s attorney also presented Hoyle’s record at RSW Jail since his arrest on March 27, 2017, which included 43 behavioral incidents including fights with other inmates, failing to follow guard orders and making “hooch” which RSW Records Supervisor Sarah Fields testified is a homemade alcohol made by inmates out of leftover food.

Defense counsel Coyne countered that the 43 citations covered a period of 770 days in jail; that 10 complaints were written up by one guard and that in at least one of the two fights Hoyle was involved in, it was he who was struck first. During his testimony Hoyle said the fight in which he threw the first punch was with an inmate he had seen get into four previous fights leading him to believe his action was essentially a pre-emptive act of self defense.

Not a summer camp or a therapeutic center – RSW Regional Jail has been Hoyle’s residence for two years. He will now move into the state correctional system to serve the balance of a 13-year sentence. Royal Examiner File Photos/Roger Bianchini

“Did you ever threaten an officer?” Coyne asked his client during direct examination.

“No,” Hoyle replied, elaborating, “I did call an officer an asshole – I did do that. He was being cruel,” Hoyle added by way of explanation.

“This is a tragic, tragic case in many ways – he’s admitted it. But it must be viewed in the context of how it happened. There is so much pain that will not be taken away by time served. Clearly he does accept responsibility,” Coyne said in closing arguments.

Of the commonwealth’s argument that Hoyle had not followed up on therapy suggestions in the past, Coyne said, “No, he didn’t follow through on therapy – that is the behavior of an addict.
Hoyle’s family members all said they would be there for their son and brother to help him stay on the path of recovery outside prison walls, including staying away from non-prescribed drugs and accessing and maintaining the therapeutic help Dr. Stejskal recommended for Hoyle.

Younger sister Faith Horton, 23, said she had lived with David most of her life. She called him “the best big brother in the world” and said she would be his “biggest supporter” when he was released to see he got and maintained the psychological help Dr. Stejskal said would be of most benefit to Hoyle gaining and maintaining psychological stability. Such therapeutic help will not be available to Hoyle in Department of Corrections facilities, Dr. Stejskal pointed out.

Of Hammond’s pointing to Hoyle’s testimony that he was reluctant to be given new prescriptive medication, Coyne said, “He didn’t say he won’t take prescriptions in the future, he expressed a heartfelt fear because of what happened … proper treatment cannot be achieved in DOC (Department of Corrections), not at RSW,” defense counsel said of what is available to inmates in criminal detention facilities.

However, all of Hoyle’s family and friends who have maintained contact with him since his arrest pointed to a relative return to normal from being off the wrong medication and on properly prescribed medicine while at RSW Regional Jail.

So if not therapy, at least Hoyle’s drug intake will be carefully monitored while he is in prison. If given credit for his two years of time served, when released he will have 13 years of controlled medication behind him at age 45. Athey said he would leave an order on therapy during the 10 years of supervised probation up to the probation officer at the time of Hoyle’s release.

In prefacing his decision the judge said he took state sentencing guidelines very seriously as a means of assuring citizens across the commonwealth are treated equally for the commission of similar crimes.

“This was a tragedy getting ready to happen,” Athey said of the shooting death of Warren Ramsey at the hands of a young man he had been like a second father to. In particular the judge was referencing law enforcement and family testimony about a November 29, 2016 incident four months before the shooting leading to a police response to the home.

Hoyle had placed a 911 call that he was being held against his will at the family’s Grand Avenue residence. It took police seven to eight hours to talk Hoyle out of his room where he had barricaded himself against the imagined threats outside his door.

The Grand Avenue murder scene.

That incident led to a trip to Warren Memorial Hospital and the issuing of an Emergency Custody Order (ECO) to keep Hoyle under observation. He was shortly released to the custody of his father, David Glynn Hoyle Sr. who has since passed away, with a “safety plan”. However, testimony indicated he soon returned to Grand Avenue to live. And as the law apparently required under ECO parameters, his three pistols were returned to him.

And while two of those guns had been sold as requested by his family, and a third one was planned for sale, it was still in the home the evening of March 27, 2017, as was David Glynn Hoyle Jr.’s delusional paranoid state brought on by over-medication and misdiagnosis by a since-decertified psychiatric professional.

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Martinsville-based doctor, was found guilty today of 861 federal drug charges

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Abingdon, VA – Joel Smithers, a Martinsville-based doctor, was found guilty today of 861 federal drug charges at the conclusion of a nine-day jury trial in U.S. District Court in Abingdon, United States Attorney Thomas T. Cullen announced.

The jury convicted Smithers, 36, after seven hours of deliberation, on one count of maintaining a place for the purpose of illegally distributing controlled substances, one count of possession with the intent to distribute controlled substances, and 859 counts of illegally prescribing Schedule II controlled substances. The jury also found that the oxycodone and oxymorphone Smithers prescribed to a woman from West Virginia caused her death.

“This defendant not only violated his Hippocratic Oath to his patients, but he perpetuated, on a massive scale, the vicious cycle of addiction, despair, and destruction,” U.S. Attorney Cullen stated today. “We have no higher priority than investigating drug-dealing physicians and other corrupt health-care practitioners and putting them in federal prison.”

Evidence presented at trial showed Smithers opened an office in Martinsville in August 2015, and prescribed controlled substances to every patient in his practice, resulting in over 500,000 Schedule II controlled substances being distributed. The drugs involved included oxymorphone, oxycodone, hydromorphone, and fentanyl. A majority of those receiving prescriptions from Smithers traveled hundreds of miles, one-way, to receive the drugs. Smithers did not accept insurance and took in over $700,000 in cash and credit card payments prior to a search warrant being executed at his office on March 7, 2017.

United States District Court Judge James P. Jones ordered Smithers taken into custody pending sentencing. Sentencing is scheduled for August 16 at 10:00 a.m. in Abingdon. Smithers faces a mandatory minimum sentence of imprisonment for a term of twenty years and a maximum sentence of life imprisonment. He also faces a maximum fine of more than $200 million dollars.

The case was investigated by the Roanoke offices of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Tactical Diversion Squad and the Health and Human Services – Office of Inspector General. Task force officers with the police departments of Bristol, Martinsville, Buena Vista, Roanoke, and Roanoke County; the Sheriff’s Offices of Henry County and Pittsylvania County; and the Virginia State Police assisted in the investigation. Assistant United States Attorneys Cagle Juhan, Randy Ramseyer and Zachary T. Lee prosecuted the case for the United States.

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‘Loose Change’ vehicle thief arrested

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Michael Terrell Campbell. Photo courtesy of Front Royal Police Department

On May 7, 2019, the Front Royal Police Department received over twenty reports regarding thefts from motor vehicles. Video surveillance was reviewed from two of the reported incidents and Michael Terrell Campbell was quickly identified as a suspect. Subsequently, two counts of vehicle tampering were obtained against Campbell and he was arrested shortly afterward without incident.

Campbell was interviewed by detectives and admitted to tampering with multiple vehicles and stealing an undisclosed amount of loose change. A search of a residence where Campbell was located yielded a seizure of controlled substances, an undisclosed amount of cash and loose change. Campbell has since been charged with one felony possession of controlled substance, one misdemeanor possession of controlled substance and a felony petit larceny. Two other suspects involved in this incident have not yet been charged and are being sought by police.

Investigation into these incidents is currently ongoing and anyone with any information is asked to please contact the Front Royal Criminal Investigations Division at 540-636-2208 or you may contact Det. L. Waller at lwaller@frontroyalva.com directly.

Front Royal Police are again reminding residents to lock vehicle doors and remove valuables when possible. This is the best way to avoid being a victim of a car burglary or theft.

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Fort Bragg Special Ops man arrested on firearms charges after authorities called to investigate death

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Nicholas Ranstad/ RSW Regional Jail

WARREN COUNTY – A Fayetteville, North Carolina man arrested Saturday by Warren County Sheriff’s Office deputies who were investigating a death at a Linden home posted a $10,000 secured bond and was released from the Rappahannock-Shenandoah-Warren Regional Jail Tuesday afternoon, according to jail records.

Nicholas Ranstad, 40, of Fayetteville, North Carolina has not been charged with killing the occupant of the home. He was, however, charged with reckless handling of a firearm and discharging a firearm inside a building.

According to Warren County General District Court records, WCSO deputies responded to a call in the 200-block of Doom Peak Road in Linden regarding a man with a gunshot wound to the head.

A complaint states that arriving deputies encountered Ranstad at the scene, then advised him of his Miranda rights, after which he admitted that he entered the house by picking a window lock. He told authorities he wanted to “check on the welfare” of the home’s occupant.

When Ranstad saw the man dead from a gunshot wound to the head, he told deputies that he “became upset” and used one of the firearms he carried on his person to shoot  four rounds inside the residence, the complaint stated.

The man who sustained the fatal gunshot wound has not been identified by officials, nor have the results of an autopsy been made public.

Officials say the case remains active and the investigation continues; it is not known if more charges will be filed.

According to a bail determination checklist completed by the Sheriff’s Office, Ranstad is employed by the special operations command at Fort Bragg in North Carolina, though it is unclear whether Ranstad is on active military duty. Photographs and information on the website Team Ranstad.org suggest the man arrested in Warren County Saturday appears to be the same man holding a United States record for the longest kill with a sniper rifle, set in Afghanistan in January 2008, though inquiries to the website remained unanswered at the time this story was published.

Photos taken from TeamRanstad.org depict Nicholas Ranstad posing with his Barret M107 rifle and (below) with the rifle’s designer, Ronnie Barrett.

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This class provides a hands-on experience for painting with oils. Students will focus on techniques for painting landscapes. Class meets once a week for five weeks. Students are recommended to bring their own reference photos[...]
6:30 pm Confederate Memorial Day ceremony @ Prospect Hill Cemetery's Soldiers Circle
Confederate Memorial Day ceremony @ Prospect Hill Cemetery's Soldiers Circle
May 23 @ 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm
Confederate Memorial Day ceremony @ Prospect Hill Cemetery's Soldiers Circle
The Warren Rifles Chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy will again lead the annual Confederate Memorial Day ceremony on the anniversary of the Battle of Front Royal. Where: at Prospect Hill Cemetery’s Soldiers[...]
May
25
Sat
1:00 pm Meet the Author: Stephen Hudak @ Royal Oak Bookshop
Meet the Author: Stephen Hudak @ Royal Oak Bookshop
May 25 @ 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Meet the Author: Stephen Hudak @ Royal Oak Bookshop
Of Dreams and Leadership: Learning to lead and sharing along the way by local author, Stephen Hudak In this collection of essays, Stephen Hudak shares his thoughts on Leadership and Learning.