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Earth Right Energy and Donald Poe reach agreement on levies and costs

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The Warren County Courthouse has seen a lot of activity lately related to alleged misappropriation of EDA assets. Royal Examiner File Photo/Roger Bianchini

FRONT ROYAL – Attorneys for defendants and the plaintiff in the “Warren EDA” civil suit seeking joint recovery of a total of $17.6 million in allegedly misdirected or embezzled Front Royal-Warren County Economic Development Authority assets faced off on motions arguments Wednesday.

At issue were a slew of defense motions, including but not limited to a request for a Bill of Particulars further specifying individual defendant liability; quashing of levies against defendant assets; suspension of plaintiff discovery; a stay or quashing of the civil case pending resolution of a special grand jury investigation into potential criminal behavior tied to the civil case.

The hearing is scheduled to resume at 9 a.m. Thursday morning, apparently as the Special Grand Jury empaneled to explore potential criminality connected the EDA civil litigation reconvenes across the hall to hear more testimony. Three days of grand jury testimony last week resulted in four felony charges against the pivotal figure in the EDA civil litigation, former EDA Executive Director Jennifer McDonald.

After four days in RSW Regional Jail, including one in the hospital for chest pains, following her Friday, May 24 arrest, McDonald was denied bond as a flight risk in a hearing Tuesday afternoon in the same, smaller Warren County Circuit courtroom in which Wednesday’s motions hearing was heard by Judge Clifford L. Athey Jr.

One result was achieved prior to the hearing’s conclusion. Following the lunch break attorneys for the plaintiff and defendants Earth Right Energy Solar Commercial LLC (ERE) and one of the company’s principals, Donald Poe, announced an agreement on one aspect of the defense filings.

That agreement is that the requested plaintiff levy or freeze on ERE and Poe assets will be dismissed and the company and Poe will carry the burden of their own legal costs and fees. Following the afternoon adjournment Sands-Anderson attorney Cullen Seltzer, representing the EDA, declined comment on how that agreement had been reached. Poe, who was accompanied by his wife, was the lone defendant present for the hearing. They left with their attorneys following court acceptance of the agreement.

The hearing began shortly after 9:30 a.m. and was adjourned at 4:17 p.m. with only one witness having testified. That witness was Warren County and EDA Attorney Dan Whitten. The bulk of the nearly two hours of afternoon testimony was comprised of Jennifer McDonald attorney Jay McDannell’s cross-examination of Whitten.

Through a recounting of the content of various plaintiff exhibits by Whitten, McDannell attempted to show that while Whitten as EDA attorney may not have been aware of certain contractual or real estate transactions undertaken by McDonald in her role as EDA executive director, certain members of the EDA board including its various chairs in recent years, past Treasurer William Biggs and Whitten’s predecessor Blair Mitchell may well have been.

Testimony from former EDA Board of Directors Chairman and Vice-Chairman Greg Drescher may kick off Thursday’s hearing. Drescher was present outside the courtroom waiting to testify most of Thursday afternoon and during part of the morning session.

Drescher is also Superintendent of Warren County Public Schools.  A contract alleged to be improper and unapproved by the EDA board or public school administration for installation of solar panels on county public schools by Earth Right Energy is part of the plaintiff complaint against the defendants. Drescher should have an interesting perspective on that contract from both sides of the equation.

As he was closing shop for the day, Athey asked McDannell if he needed his client transported from RSW Jail to testify Thursday. McDonald’s attorney said he would meet with his client following adjournment of Wednesday’s hearing, but added he did not anticipate that would be necessary.

See more on the motions hearing and the court ruling on those motions anticipated Thursday in an upcoming Royal Examiner story.

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Front Royal woman charged in assault of 2-year-old in her care

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Candice L. McCartney. Photo courtesy of RSW Jail

On Tuesday, July 14, 2020, Candice L. McCartney, 28, of Front Royal, was charged with § 40.1-103 Cruelty and Injuries to Children and § 18.2-57.2 Assault and Battery Against a Family Member. The victim is a 2-year-old child who was in McCartney’s care when the alleged incident occurred. The alleged assault occurred in the 300 block of Ritenour Street on July 13, 2020. A forensic examination of the child was conducted by Winchester Medical Center for treatment of serious but non-life-threatening injuries.

McCartney was arrested without incident and transported to the Rappahannock Shenandoah Warren (RSW) Regional Jail where she went before the magistrate and was held on a secure bond. A court date for this offense is set for August 13, 2020, at 9:00 am, in Warren County Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court. Further details regarding this matter cannot be released at this time due to the pending nature of the investigation.

This investigation is ongoing and anyone with any further information is asked to contact Front Royal Police Detective M.R. Ramey at (540) 636-2208 or by email at mramey@frontroyalva.com.

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Two Dinwiddie, VA men arrested; firearms, felony assault, outstanding warrants & more

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On Sunday, June 28th at approximately 02:21 AM, Deputy C. Clatterbuck, and Deputy R. Burleson conducted a traffic stop on Fort Valley Road in the area of the Shenandoah County line. During the stop, it was found that the driver of the vehicle was wanted out of another jurisdiction.

Another vehicle arrived at the scene that was traveling with the vehicle on the traffic stop. While Clatterbuck was interacting with the second vehicle, Clatterbuck heard a series of gunshots in the woods near him. After a few minutes, Clatterbuck heard a second round of gunshots in the woods closer to him. After investigation, it was found that the gunshots came from a male occupant of the second vehicle.

Dakota M. Davis, 20, of Dinwiddie, VA. Photo courtesy of RSW Jail.

The male occupant, identified as Dakota M. Davis, 20, of Dinwiddie, VA, was taken into custody a short time later without incident. Davis was charged with 4.1-305 Underage Possession of Alcohol, 18.2-460 Obstruction of Justice, 18.2-56.1 Reckless Handling of a Firearm, 18.2-57 Felony Assault of LEO X2, and 18.2-388 Public Intoxication.

Michael C. Scites, 38, of Dinwiddie, VA. Photo courtesy of RSW Jail.

The male driver, identified as Michael C. Scites, 38, of Dinwiddie, VA, was taken into custody without incident. Scites was charged with 46.2-301 Driving Suspended/Revoked 3rd or subsequent offense, 18.2-250.1 possession of marijuana, and served with his outstanding warrants out of Henrico County.

Both Davis and Scites were held without bond and are currently at RSW Regional Jail. Warren County Sheriff’s Office was assisted by the Front Royal Police Department, Shenandoah County Sheriff’s Office and Fauquier County Sheriff’s Office we would like to thank these agencies for their assistance.

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Virginia Beach man arrested on charge of transmitting in interstate commerce a threat to injure or kill U.S. Senator

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Dylan Stephen Jayne, 37, of Virginia Beach, Va., was arrested yesterday on a federal criminal complaint and charged with one count of transmitting a threat via interstate commerce by leaving a voicemail message and threatening to kill a United States Senator. Photo courtesy of Western Tidewater Regional Jail.

A Virginia man, who allegedly transmitted a threat via interstate commerce to kill a United States Senator, was arrested yesterday in Virginia Beach on a federal criminal complaint. United States Attorney Thomas T. Cullen and U.S. Capitol Police Chief Steven A. Sund made the announcement today following the defendant’s initial court appearance this afternoon.

Dylan Stephen Jayne, 37, of Virginia Beach, Va., was arrested yesterday on a federal criminal complaint and charged with one count of transmitting a threat via interstate commerce by leaving a voicemail message and threatening to kill a United States Senator.

According to court documents, on the morning of September 2, 2019, Jayne called the Abingdon office of United States Senator Mark Warner and threatened to kill the Senator regarding Jayne’s perceived lack of receiving Social Security payments.

The investigation of this matter is being conducted by the United States Capitol Police, and the Burlington, Vermont Police Department. The Virginia Beach Police Department and U.S. Marshals Service assisted in the apprehension of the suspect. Assistant United States Attorney Jennifer R. Bockhorst is prosecuting the case for the United States.

A criminal complaint is only a charge and not evidence of guilt. All defendants are considered innocent until proven guilty.

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Two Frederick County residents charged in Bealton murder investigation

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On Sunday, June 21, the Fauquier County Sheriff’s Office announced two additional arrests in the suspicious death investigation of a woman found deceased in Bealton on June 18. As previously reported, on Saturday, June 20, Melody Dawn Glascock, 54, was arrested by the Warren County Sheriff’s Office on charges of 1st Degree Murder and Obstruction of Justice, concealing evidence of a felony. Glascock was initially being held without bond in Rappahannock-Shenandoah-Warren (RSW) Regional Jail.

Now lead investigative agency Fauquier County has announced that two Stephens City residents have been arrested by Frederick County authorities on charges related to the Bealton murder investigation.

James Samuel Embrey III, 20, and Maria Dawn Embrey, 40, have been charged with Conspiracy to Commit Murder and are being held in the Northwestern Regional Adult Detention Center.

James Samuel Embrey III, 20

Maria Dawn Embrey, 40

The Fauquier Sheriff’s release states that “It is alleged that Melody Dawn Glascock conspired with both James Embrey and Maria Embrey to commit the murder of Kelly Marie Gray,” the release states.

Previously the deceased Bealton individual had only been identified as a 40-year-old woman with severe trauma to her abdomen area. The Fauquier County Sheriff’s Office report on the response to Gray’s residence states, “On Thursday, June 18, 2020, deputies responded to Gray’s apartment where she was found by a family member suffering from severe trauma to the torso. The homicide investigation quickly revealed suspects.”

Melody Dawn Glascock

It was also announced that Glascock was transferred over the weekend to the Fauquier County Adult Detention Center in Warrenton, where she remains incarcerated without bond. She now faces a third charge, conspiracy to commit murder.

UPDATE: Fauquier Sheriff ties Warren murder arrest to Bealton investigation

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UPDATE: Fauquier Sheriff ties Warren murder arrest to Bealton investigation

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According to the RSW Jail website, a woman, Melody Dawn Glascock, 54, was booked into the facility at 8:34 a.m. Saturday morning, June 20, on a charge of 1st Degree Murder, non-capital, and Obstruction of Justice – the destruction of evidence of a felony. The Warren County Sheriff’s Office was listed as the arresting agency.

More on this story as information becomes available.

UPDATE:
The Fauquier Sheriff’s Office has issued a press release tying the arrest of Melody D. Glascock in Warren County to their investigation of a suspicious death in Bealton on June 18. The release also notes that Glascock is a resident of Marshall, but did not add any detail to the circumstance of her arrest in Warren County.

Marshall resident Melody Dawn Glascock was apprehended in Warren County related to a Fauquier Sheriff’s Office investigation of a suspicious death in Bealton on June 18. – Photo/RSW Jail

Below is the Saturday morning, June 20 Fauquier release, followed by their June 19 release on the Bealton investigation:

FCSO NEWS RELEASE UPDATE
June 20, 2020 11:30 a.m.

UPDATE: An arrest has been made in the Thursday night homicide in Bealeton. MELODY DAWN GLASCOCK, 54, of Marshall, has been charged by Fauquier County detectives with 1st-degree murder and obstruction of justice. Glascock was apprehended this morning in Warren County and is currently held with no bond in the RSW Regional Jail. More information will be forthcoming.

FCSO NEWS RELEASE
June 19, 2020

BEALETON HOMICIDE UNDER INVESTIGATION

Deputies responded to a suspicious death at approximately 7 p.m. on Thursday night, June 18, 2020. Upon arriving in the 6300 block of Village Center Drive deputies located a deceased female in an apartment. The 40-year-old victim was apparently found when a family member returned home.

The victim suffered severe trauma to the torso. An autopsy will be conducted at the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Manassas, VA, on Friday, June 19, 2020, to determine the exact cause and manner of death. This incident is currently under investigation as a homicide.

Further information will be provided as it becomes available. Anyone with information about this homicide is asked to contact the Fauquier County Sheriff’s Office at 540-347-3300.

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Rappawan, Campbell Realty civil hearing date set; April Petty, Jesse Poe pre-trial hearing request under consideration by court

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Although neither she nor her attorney was present live or virtually for scheduled Economic Development Authority civil case hearings Thursday morning, June 18, Jennifer McDonald’s presence was apparent throughout defense motion’s hearing arguments in the cases of defendants April Petty and Jesse Poe.

Prior to those arguments a hearing date of July 30, beginning at 8:30 a.m. was set for pre-trial motions in the cases of Rappawan Inc., and principal William Vaught Jr. and Century 21, Campbell Realty Inc., and principals Walter and Jeannette Campbell. Attorneys for those defendants were among the few physically present in the older, larger Warren County Circuit Courtroom with Judge Bruce D. Albertson Thursday morning.

The Campbells were represented by Warrenton attorney Peter Hansen; Rappawan and Vaught by local real estate attorney Joseph Silek Jr., though it appeared Hansen might also have a hand in the Rappawan case. However, he said he would defer to Silek on the availability of the July 30 date for that client.

It was noted that coming motions reply dates were July 10 for a plaintiff response to defense motions, and July 24 for a defense reply to the plaintiff’s assertions in their reply.

‘They didn’t know’
In arguing for a pre-trial plea in bar hearing for his clients, April Petty and Jesse Poe – the latter not to be confused with fellow civil defendant Donald Poe – attorney William Shmidheiser III repeatedly told the court he was not disputing lead civil defendant Jennifer McDonald’s embezzlement of the amounts of money cited in real estate home purchases McDonald achieved for his clients, rather he was asserting his clients had no knowledge that that money (totaling $410,000) had been embezzled.

While not directly involved in Thursday’s EDA civil hearings, Jennifer McDonald, left with then EDA Board Chair Patty Wines, cast a long shadow over two defendants’ arguments for a pre-trial hearing chance to plead their innocence. Their arguments, who would have suspected a successful local real estate agent and Economic Development executive of criminal embezzlement? Royal Examiner File Photo/Roger Bianchini

So, Shmidheiser told Judge Albertson his clients should have the right to present their cases to him at a plea and bar hearing prior to the primary civil trial alleging a conspiracy among all 15 defendants to benefit from McDonald crimes, admitted or alleged, in an amount totaling over $21 million dollars.

The amount of embezzled money he cited involving his clients was $125,000 in Petty’s transaction and $285,000 in Jesse Poe’s. Their attorney said his clients recruited McDonald to be their real estate agent for home purchases from knowing her through family connections. Poe dated a niece of McDonald’s at the time, his attorney said; and Petty knew McDonald as the successful “golden child” of relatives she knew socially.

Shmidheiser said that if his clients could be proven to not have been involved in the larger conspiracy alleged by the plaintiff in a pre-trial plea and bar hearing, it would serve the “judicial economy” in simplifying and speeding up the primary case.

Arguing for the plaintiff EDA after being introduced to the court over phone connection by lead Sands Anderson/EDA attorney Cullen Seltzer, was Sean Hudson. Hudson countered the defense “judicial economy” argument, noting that Schmidheiser’s clients weren’t denying that embezzled funds had been used in their real estate transaction, only that they weren’t aware it was embezzled at the time of their home purchases with former EDA Executive Director McDonald acting as their real estate agent.

EDA attorney Hudson also noted that neither Petty nor Poe had offered to return the embezzled money utilized in their home purchases; adding his firm had not yet been able to depose either defendant, a conversation between plaintiff and defendants that could lead to a pre-trial settlement offer.

Defense counsel Shmidheiser countered that once involved, he had offered multiple dates for depositions of his clients but that an impasse with Sands Anderson over a location for those depositions – the law firm’s Richmond home base or Warren County where the case will be heard – had occurred.

Their attorney also noted that neither April Petty nor Jesse Poe had been indicted by the EDA Criminal Case Special Grand Jury after testifying before it, in Petty’s case at least, multiple times. That indicated the grand jury believed his clients’ stories, Schmidheiser asserted to the court.

The Warren County Courthouse is cranking back up toward a late-pandemic caseload, though still partly by remote hook up and masked, social distancing inside.

“She would like some closure. She has a lot at stake,” her attorney said, pointing to her federal emergency management job.

As the arguments concluded, Judge Albertson returned to the oft-touched topic of “fairness” and asked plaintiff counsel if he thought it “fair” that the court is allowed to at least “consider a pre-trial resolution for two or more defendants”.

After a long pause, Hansen offered that he thought keeping the defendants in the primary civil action would achieve the best chance of a pre-trial settlement, ultimately serving to streamline the case to the desired “judicial economy”.

Judge Albertson then took the arguments under advisement.

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