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Chief District Judge Albertson poised to hear Henry bond arguments

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Michelle ‘Missy’ Henry continues to wear jailhouse garb pending a third date for her bond hearing this Tuesday, July 23. However, she will remain housed at RSW Jail until that hearing, rather than be returned to the Manassas jail she was transferred to on June 25. Photo RSW website

Former Front Royal-Warren County Economic Development Director Michelle “Missy” Henry had a second bond hearing continued Friday, July 19. Henry appeared with co-counsel Ryan Nuzzo and David Hensley near the end of the 9 a.m. morning docket at 12:07 p.m. The hearing was over at 12:10 p.m.

Judge William W. Sharp reaffirmed his recusal from all EDA matters, then continued Henry’s bond hearing to Tuesday, July 23, on the morning docket. Sharp indicated that 26th Judicial District Chief Judge Bruce D. Albertson would be present to hear arguments at that time. As chief presiding district judge Albertson is responsible for naming a substitute judge to hear EDA civil and criminal cases in the wake of Judge Sharp’s recusal and Judge Clifford L. Athey’s move away from circuit court duties as he prepares to take a seat on the Virginia State Appeals Court on September 1.

Sharp submitted a written recusal on July 12, citing what might be called “small-town syndrome” – a personal or professional familiarity with many involved parties either named as defendants or potential witnesses in EDA matters. Albertson is based out of Harrisonburg.

Discussing their client’s situation outside the courtroom Friday afternoon, Henry’s attorneys said it was their understanding that not only would Albertson be present to hear and make a ruling on bond arguments Tuesday, but was poised to name a substitute judge on the criminal and civil matters arising from the EDA fraud investigation. They said it was also their understanding that appointment could be a self-appointment.

“Missy” Henry became the second person indicted criminally by the Special Grand Jury empanelled to investigate potential criminality tied to the EDA financial fraud investigation begun in mid-September 2018. The first criminal indictments handed down were against Henry’s former boss, former EDA Executive Director Jennifer McDonald. McDonald was arrested by Virginia State Police on special grand jury sealed indictments May 24, Henry on June 24.

It appeared that at least five Henry family members were present to see Tuesday’s developments unfold. In arguing for bond at Henry’s first hearing on June 25, the day after her arrest, Nuzzo pointed to Henry’s long and deep community ties. He also noted that the events named in her two embezzlement indictments surrounding the EDA’s B&G Goods small business loan and asset dispersal on the old Stokes Mart property dated to 2014 to 2016.

For Michelle Henry’s family the wheels of justice must seem to be spinning in neutral. Royal Examiner File Photos/Roger Bianchini

“These are very old actions …If she was a flight risk she would have fled by now,” Nuzzo told substitute Judge Thomas D. Horne. Horne deferred a ruling on bond arguments due to his unfamiliarity with the case, continuing the matter to July 19.

Jail transfer sought
In a related matter, Henrys’ counsel filed a motion Thursday, July 18, to have their client moved out of the Prince William Manassas Regional Adult Detention Center some 44 miles out of this community and away from her family’s home base.

Of that move over an hour’s drive away following her first bond hearing on June 25, Henry’s “Motion To Compel Jail To Cancel Courtesy Hold” observes, “Without agreement of the parties or Order of this Court, the RSW Regional Jail, which is the holding facility for inmates and Defendants held without bond for Warren County, arranged for the transportation of Your Defendant … to the Prince William Manassas Regional Adult Detention Center, located at 9320 Lee Ave., Manassas, VA 20110 … This holding facility has an incredibly limited visitation schedule, including for legal visits, and has no direct phone line from which Counsel may contact their client.”

The defense motion included an attachment with the Manassas jail’s visitation schedule and rules. It showed two, 2-1/2-hour visitation blocks (8:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. to 10 p.m.) and one 3-hour block (noon to 3 p.m.) per day; and a notation that “general population inmates” are allowed one 20 to 30-minute visit per week.

At the time of the transfer RSW Jail Superintendent Russ Gilkison indicated Henry was moved due to the high-profile nature of the EDA investigation locally and personal safety concerns. McDonald was transferred to the Fairfax Adult Detention Center for similar reasons on June 11.

“While RSW may have had good motives in being concerned for Your Defendant due to Your Defendant’s son being an employee of the Warren County Sheriff’s Department, the location they have chosen is unduly unfair to her access to Counsel and her family,” the defense motion for a jail transfer observes.

Contacted Friday afternoon, Gilkison said Henry was being transported directly back to the Manassas jail from the Warren County Courthouse when a notice from the court to keep her housed at RSW pending Tuesday’s bond hearing was received. So that transport will be redirected to RSW, Gilkison indicated.

Henry attorney Nuzzo said that were bond to be denied Tuesday, it is likely the court would hear arguments on the change of jail location motion submitted last Thursday. As an alternative to either the Prince William-Manassas Jail or RSW, the defense motion suggests the Northwestern Regional Adult Detention Center in Frederick County, a 27 mile, approximate half-hour drive.

6601 Winchester Rd – ‘Missy’ Henry will remain closer to home pending her Tuesday bond hearing. Her family hopes she will return home following that hearing which will come one month after her June 24 arrest.

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Former Winchester attorney charged with embezzlement, forgery

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CULPEPER, VA – A former Winchester based attorney has been indicted on felony charges related to an ongoing investigation into his business practices.  On Tuesday, August 18, 2020, a Winchester County grand jury handed up one felony count of embezzlement, and two felony counts of forgery charges against Travis J. Tisinger, 53, of Forty Fort, Pennsylvania.

The charges stem from an investigation the Virginia State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation’s Culpeper Field Office initiated in May 2019 related to Tisinger withholding a client’s $8000 settlement and forging signatures.

According to the Winchester Star, Tisinger’s license to practice law was suspended by the Virginia BAR in 2018 for not providing requested records.

The investigation was referred to VSP from the Winchester Police Department.

Tisinger turned himself into state police Thursday, September 17, 2020, at the RSW Regional Jail and went before the magistrate who released him on bond.

The investigation remains ongoing at this time.

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Two Front Royal men arrested and charged for drug distributed via mail delivery

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Officers with the US Postal Service and the Front Royal/Warren County team of the Northwest Virginia Regional Drug Task Force initiated a joint investigation after information was revealed that drugs were being distributed via mail delivery. On Monday, August 31, 2020, a search warrant was executed at 211 Fletcher Street, apartment #2. Four individuals were present at the apartment when the search warrant was executed. Two individuals were subsequently charged with the following:

Tyler Kyle Edwards: Probation Violation, possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine, possession with intent to distribute marijuana, possession of a firearm after being convicted of a felony.

Christopher David Lowden: Possession of methamphetamine.

Both men are residents of 221 Fletcher Street, apartment #2. Total seizure from the residence included methamphetamine with a street value of $4500 and marijuana with a street value of $1200. Both men are being held at the Rappahannock Shenandoah Warren (RSW) Regional Jail.

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Local man arrested for felony fleeing after reported housefire

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On Friday, August 28, 2020, at approximately 1:38 pm, the Warren County Fire and Rescue Services responded to a reported structure fire at a single-family home on Little Sorrel Road in Warren County.

Firefighters and Warren County Deputies arrived on the scene to an active fire contained to the lower level of the house, which was quickly extinguished. Firefighters determined that the home was not occupied at the time of the fire and WCSO Deputies assisted Fire Marshal, Gerry R. Maiatico in securing the scene.

The cause of the fire was investigated by the Warren County Fire Marshal’s Office. The initial investigation suggested the fire was suspicious, and Fire Investigators were joined by the Warren County Sheriff’s Office in a joint investigation.

The investigation revealed that an 18-year-old resident of the home, Jordan Dean Price was unaccounted for and posed a risk to himself. It was determined that a Ruger .22 handgun belonging to another family member was missing from the home, and Price may be armed. A local broadcast was issued by the WCSO for residents in the Freezeland Road area after Price was observed by WCSO Deputies at 3:18 pm driving a silver Saturn sedan with Virginia registration.

Jordan Dean Price refused to stop and pull over and took evasive actions to elude WCSO Deputies in pursuit throughout the area of Freezeland and Blue Mountain Roads. Price’s vehicle was found discarded in the heavily wooded area of Trillium Trail at 3:59 pm, with scattered ammunition observed in plain view upon the passenger seat, reinforcing the belief Price might be armed.

Jordan Dean Price. Photo courtesy of RSW Jail.

The WCSO established incident command on Freezeland Road and were joined by the Fauquier County Sheriff’s Office, Clarke County Sheriff’s Office, and Virginia State Police in the search for Jordan Price. All three counties coordinated a focused RAVE messaging campaign through their respective 911 Communications Centers to notify residents to stay away from the area and to remain inside their homes.

Canine (K-9) and search teams from the responding agencies tracked Price for several hours and many miles on foot, eventually located him in the area of Sky Meadows State Park off Routes 17 and 50 in Fauquier County. Jordan Dean Price was taken into custody at 07:12 PM without incident and a loaded firearm was recovered from his person. Price was initially charged with a single count of felony eluding, § 46.2-817, and taken to the RSW Jail to appear before the magistrate for a bond hearing. Price is currently held without bond.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation and anyone having additional information regarding this incident is asked to contact Fire Marshal Gerry Maiatico at 540-636-3830 or WCSO Investigator Jeremy Seabright at 540-635-4128.

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Larry Donovan of Front Royal arrested on firearms related charges

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On Saturday, August 22, 2020, at approximately 06:20 PM the Warren County Sherriff’s Office received a delayed domestic violence report from a 65-year-old female alleging her husband was intoxicated and had fired two rounds from a 9 mm handgun into the ceiling of their home on Turkey Trot Road, Front Royal, Virginia. The victim then fled the home for fear of her safety.

The ensuing WCSO investigation resulted in an Emergency Protection Order (EPO) being issued by the Magistrate’s Office at 9:12 PM, along with three warrants for the arrest of Larry O’Bryan
Donovan, age 71 or Front Royal, Virginia. Based upon the concerns that Donovan may be intoxicated, was in possession of dangerous weapons, and had a previous history of brandishing
a firearm, the investigating Deputy Paul Bernd enlisted the assistance of the Warren County Special Response Team in securing the residence.

On August 22, 2020, at 10:21 PM, members of the WCSO arrived at Turkey Trot Road and made contact with Larry Donovan, who surrendered without further incident. Donovan was charged
with (1) count of discharging a firearm in a dwelling, (1) count of reckless handling of a firearm, and (1) count of brandishing a firearm. Donovan was transported from the scene by Fire and
Rescue to Warren Memorial Hospital for an unknown medical complaint not related to the incident. He was subsequently released and taken to the RSW Jail where he was held without
bond. Donovan is due to appear in Warren County Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court on September 10, 2020, at 0900 AM.

A consensual search of the Donovan residence resulted in the recovery of four handguns, including a 9 mm handgun. The weapons were taken for safekeeping until the resolution of the EPO.

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West Virginia man sentenced to life in prison for sex trafficking, distributing fatal doses of Fentanyl

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Kendall Demarko Wysinger, a Martinsburg, West Virginia, man who used heroin as a means to control numerous women he trafficked as part of a commercial prostitution ring that operated in the Western District of Virginia and elsewhere, was sentenced today, August 24, 2020, to life in prison. United States Attorney Thomas T. Cullen, David W. Archey, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Richmond Division, and Jesse Fong, Special Agent in Charge of the DEA’s Washington Field Office made the announcement today following Wysinger’s sentencing hearing.

“Sex traffickers enslave and traumatize their victims for financial gain. This is why the Department of Justice has made these cases a top priority.” First Assistant United States Attorney Daniel P. Bubar said today. “Today’s sentence shows our office’s commitment to investigating and prosecuting anyone who commits these awful crimes. I am grateful to the FBI, DEA, and the numerous state and local agencies involved with the I-81 Human Trafficking Task Force who worked tirelessly to bring justice to the victims in this case.”

“We are very thankful for our DEA Washington Division agents who worked this case, and for the teamwork of our federal and local partners in keeping our community safer from horrific human sex trafficking and violent drug crime, such as this,” Special Agent in Charge Fong said today. “This case is a great example of how we work, every day, alongside our law enforcement and community partners to bring such egregious criminals to justice.”

“The investigation of human trafficking is a high priority for the FBI. Through the FBI’s I-81 Human Trafficking Task Force, law enforcement in the tri-state area leverages resources, identifies perpetrators, and assists victims, with recovery and the rebuilding of their lives,” SAC Archey said today. “The sentencing today of Mr. Wysinger is the culmination of the work and dedication of the task force and the Department. We encourage anyone who is a victim of trafficking or suspects someone is being trafficked to contact law enforcement and seek assistance through victim services immediately.”

According to evidence presented at Wysinger’s January 2019 jury trial, (see related story below) the defendant operated a prostitution ring with at least six victims in Virginia, West Virginia, and Maryland. Through the course of the conspiracy, Wysinger used heroin to coerce his victims into engaging in commercial sex and employed threats and intimidation to ensure he maintained power and control over those victims. Wysinger routinely advertised these victims for commercial sex using online classified ads in Winchester, Virginia, Shenandoah County, Virginia, and cities in West Virginia and Maryland, and used social media accounts to target and recruit women into his sex-trafficking operation. The defendant demanded his victims provide him nearly all the money they received from commercial sex in order to pay their drug debts, his charges for posting ads online, and transporting them to prostitution dates.

On one occasion, the heroin Wysinger distributed resulted in two overdoses. Wysinger gave what he said was heroin to one victim of his sex trafficking ring and her friend. The substance was actually fentanyl, a far more powerful synthetic opioid, and both victims overdosed after ingesting it. One victim died as a result of fentanyl poisoning. Wysinger was with both victims when they overdosed and left the victims unconscious in a Winchester motel room.

The investigation of the case was conducted by the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s I-81 Human Trafficking Task Force (I-81 HTTF), the Luray Police Department, and the Northwest Virginia Regional Drug and Gang Task Force (NWRDGTF). Assistant United States Rachel Swartz prosecuted the case for the United States.

The I-81 HTTF is a collaborative effort of law enforcement and community partners focused on identifying instances of human trafficking along the I-81 corridor in the northern Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, West Virginia, and Maryland; prosecuting those responsible; and, providing assistance to the victims impacted by these crimes. The I-81 HTTF includes law enforcement from the counties of Frederick, Clarke, and Shenandoah as well as the cities and towns of Front Royal, Hagerstown, and Frederick, Maryland, and Lord Fairfax Community College.

The NWRDGTF uses the combined efforts of local, state, and federal agencies to actively pursue those groups or individuals who manufacture, distribute, or sell illegal narcotics. The NWRDGTF is comprised of the Virginia State Police, the Winchester Police Department, the Front Royal Police Department, the Strasburg Police Department, the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office, the Page County Sheriff’s Office, the Warren County Sheriff’s Office, the Shenandoah County Sheriff’s Office, and the Clarke County Sheriff’s Office.

Martinsburg man convicted of sex trafficking, distributing fatal doses of fentanyl and evidence tampering

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State Police release details of high-speed chase, arrest of Herndon woman

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On Wednesday, August 12, the Virginia State Police (VSP) issued a press release on the circumstance of the multi-jurisdiction pursuit and arrest of Herndon resident Jennifer L. Arnn. The release indicates the date of the incident as Thursday, August 6. Our initial report indicated the incident occurred on Friday, August 7, which is listed as her booking date on the RSW Jail website. VSP Public Information Officer Brent Coffey explained that Arnn spent Thursday night at the hospital for injuries incurred during the incident, which appear to be reflected in her jail booking mug shot.

Jennifer Arnn faces one animal cruelty charge resulting in the fatality of dog or cat; one reckless driving charge, one vandalism charge of intentional damaging of public property. Photo courtesy of RSW Jail.

That incident began with a reckless driving “Be on the Lookout” issued in Berkley County, West Virginia, after which VSP spotted the vehicle on I-81 in Frederick County, Virginia.
Below is the VSP release in its entirety:

WARREN CO., Va. – A Herndon, Va. woman is behind bars on multiple charges after she fled law enforcement Thursday (August 6, 2020). Virginia State Police have charged Jennifer L. Arnn, 39, in Warren County with three felony counts of assault on law enforcement, one felony count of intentional damage, one felony count of eluding law enforcement, one felony count of animal cruelty, one misdemeanor count of driving under the influence, and one misdemeanor count of possession of marijuana.

On Thursday at approximately 11:17 a.m. the Berkley County Sheriff’s Office issued a “Be On the Lookout” for a reckless driver. A short time later state police observed the suspect vehicle, a 2016 Mazda CS-X on I-81 at the 307-mile marker in Frederick County. State police initiated a traffic stop on the Mazda which stopped but took off when approached by a trooper.

The Mazda continued on Rt. 277 in Frederick County. The Mazda was eventually contained and stopped on I-66 at the 4.6-mile marker in Warren County. The driver, Arnn, was taken into custody without further incident. Arnn was transported to RSW Regional Jail and held without bond.

During the course of the pursuit, Arnn pushed her dog out the window. State police were able to locate the dog, but it did not survive its injuries.

Arnn struck three state police cruisers during the pursuit. One of the state police troopers suffered minor injuries during the incident.

The pursuit reached speeds of up to 100 mph.

Woman held at RSW Jail after state police chase, animal abuse-fatality charge

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