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Monday, June 1 at 6 p.m.
Theda Lee Dawson (1957 – 2021)
Theda Lee Dawson, 64, of Front Royal, Virginia passed away on Saturday, November 27, 2021, at Warren Memorial Hospital.
A funeral service will be held on Thursday, December 2, 2021, at 11 AM at Rivermont Baptist Church, 575 Catlett Mountain Road, Front Royal, with the Rev. Tim Dyke officiating. Burial will follow at Bennett’s Chapel Cemetery.
Mrs. Dawson was born on July 8, 1957, in Louisa, Virginia to the late Joseph and Dorothy Blakely Nelson. She was also preceded in death by her sister, Christy. She grew up in the Warren County area and graduated from Warren County High School. She was a missionary for 15 years in Venezuela and a member of Rivermont Baptist Church. She was a founding member of Blue Ridge Women in Business.
Survivors include her husband of 47 years, Steven Dawson; four daughters, Tami Williams, Lisa Acosta (Jickson), Erin Acosta (Ramon), and Dottie Kendall (Mike); brother, Joseph David Nelson; eleven grandchildren and numerous in-laws, nieces, and nephews.
The family will receive friends one hour prior to the service at the church.
John William Louis Martin (2003 – 2021)
John William Louis Martin, 17, of Linden, Virginia passed away on Tuesday, November 23, 2021, at his home.
Services will be held on Tuesday, November 30, 2021, at Bethel Presbyterian Church, 19856 Evergreen Mills Rd. Leesburg, Virginia 20175 with the Rev. Dr. George C. Hammond officiating. Visitation will be at 10:00 am in the fellowship hall followed by a memorial service at 11:00 am in the sanctuary. There will be no reception to follow. Interment will be private. The family requests that all in attendance wear masks.
John was born on December 22, 2003, in Front Royal, Virginia to Leah K. Dooly Martin and Craig J. Martin. He was a communicant member of Bethel Presbyterian Church.
Surviving along with his mother are his sister, Kiely Martin, and brother, Joseph Martin; maternal grandparents, Bill and Sue Dooly; aunt, Joy Dooly; paternal grandmother, Rev. Mildred Martin; paternal grandfather, Lou Martin (Cecily Nabors); and numerous extended family members and close family friends.
John was a loving, generous, and loyal young man. He cared deeply for his family, loved his mom and siblings, adored his aunts’ Joy and Amanda, and cherished all of his grandparents and great grandparents. He adored his dog, Jolly. John was a wonderful friend. He was a great student and a hardworking employee. He put others before himself and if you were so lucky to get a hug from John, you could feel it deep in your core. John’s hugs were the best. His laugh and his smile lit up an entire room. His sense of humor had his audience in stitches…every. damn. time. He was loved so deeply and will be greatly missed.
It’s hard to summarize a loved one’s life on a piece of paper. If I had the time to talk about John, I would need an eternity; I could speak volumes and volumes about him, but I simply do not have that sort of time.
Everything about John was big. When he was born, he was a whopping 9.5 pounds! He had big hands just like his father and grandfather, big brown eyes like his father and grandmother, and even as a newborn, he had a deep voice (not sure where that came from). He was my round-cheeked, spikey-haired, brown-eyed baby boy. As he grew from a boy into a young man standing just shy of 6 feet, he remained gentle, sensitive, thoughtful, and kind, and oddly old-fashioned in his thinking. His aunt Amanda often told me she felt he was an old soul from the very beginning.
John was a good listener and role model to his peers. He befriended the friendless and freely offered sound advice to those in need. He was deeply empathetic, patient, and compassionate. He had the ability to see and understand things from another perspective. His constant companion was “Jolly” his Jack Russell terrier. Jolly would wait by the door until John came in from outside. John would talk to Jolly and give him baths and fluff his doggie pillow under the computer desk. He loved his dog. John enjoyed books and movies that were filmed from an animal’s perspective. He loved animals. A Dog’s Purpose, A Dog’s Journey, and Black Beauty were a couple of his favorite movies.
He could make a fine cup of coffee and had his own recipe for banana bread. Some of his favorite foods were mint chocolate chip ice cream, corned beef hash and eggs, and steak. He was a WWI and WWII buff who frequently drew detailed pictures of airplanes and tanks and read constantly about history. Saving Private Ryan, Unbroken, Forrest Gump, and War Horse were a few more of his favorite movies. He loved sharks and dragons and owned the entire Wings of Fire book series. He enjoyed anything that was steampunk and electro swing music. He had an impressive collection of die-cast cars and planes, Hot Wheels, and intricate Lego sets. He loved classic cars and trains and ships and planes.
John was a dedicated student. He was punctual and detail-oriented and completed assignments early. He loved welding and building things in shop class. He loved math but hated physics and Spanish. He was a straight “A” student, certified in OSHA safety, and a member of the National Honor Society. He spoke often about his favorite teachers Mrs. Vashista (algebra 2), Dr. Castor (AP Statistics), Mrs. Burnworth (geometry and calculus), Mrs. Briggs (English), Mr. Leonard (introduction to engineering), and Mr. Moore (welding). John would have been a proud 2022 graduate of Warren County High School. He had a high GPA and had earned college credits while in high school. He was accepted to several colleges and universities and sought after by over 70 different institutions of higher learning. He had plans and ambitions to become an underwater welder and metal fabricator.
John was a huge supporter of law enforcement and first responders and those who have served or serve in the military. Every time we went out, he would stop and thank each civil servant he saw and say, “Thank you for your service.” He was very patriotic and loved our country.
He was an avid gamer and had a close group of friends. He wrote nearly every day since his first pencil hit the paper. He read all the time and was fascinated by the natural world and how things work. It was apparent to me that he had a higher level of thinking and saw life from a different perspective. He was mechanically inclined and a problem solver. He liked to figure out how things worked. He was a cashier at Martin’s and loved his coworkers and customers even the customers that weren’t so nice. John also volunteered at Samuels Public Library and participated in group projects with the NHS.
The other thing that was big about John was his heart. If he knew you, he loved you. He loved people who were kind and thoughtful. He loved people who taught him things and allowed him to be himself. He loved those who nurtured him and guided him. He loved so deeply that this world was too small for the love he had within himself. And that is what I want you to remember most after you leave here today, that John. Loved. Us. and We. Loved. Him.
In lieu of flowers memorial donations may be made to the following charities or organizations:
Humane Society of Warren County Virginia, https://humanesocietywarrencounty.com; Tunnel to Towers Foundation, https://t2t.org; Honor Flight Network, www.honorflight.org; The Wounded Blue https://www.thewoundedblue.org; Samuels Public Library, https://samuelslibrary.net; Maddox Funeral Home, 105 West Main Street, Front Royal, VA.
Accused Brinklow murderer gets 30-years-9-months on plea agreement and probation violation charges
Following emotional testimony from Jennifer Brinklow, the mother of 20-year-old Tristen Brinklow on the devastating impact on her life of her son’s 2019 murder, and a perhaps surprisingly emotional series of apologies from his accused killer for his role in that murder, the Commonwealth and defense counsels debated at which end of sentencing guidelines 38-year-old Richard Matthew Crouch should be incarcerated on Second Degree Murder and related and unrelated charges he submitted guilty pleas to as part of a plea agreement.
By plea agreement already accepted by Warren County Circuit Court Judge William Sharp, the sentencing range was between 8-years-and-7-months and 28 years-and-9-months. The other involved suspect, George Good, received a 10-year prison sentence with 25 years suspended on August 13, on a similar plea agreement involving two charges of helping Crouch dispose of Brinklow’s body and a variety of unrelated charges. Good was 29 at the time of his sentencing three months ago.
After hearing about an hour and a half of testimony, questions, and arguments Judge Sharp adjourned to chambers at noon, Monday, November 29th to consider his sentencing decision. After 17 minutes Judge Sharp returned to deliver his ruling. That ruling was the high-end 28-years-and-9-months according to sentencing parameters of the plea agreement, after imposing two, 5-year sentences on concealing and defiling (allowing to decompose) a dead body; and 30 years on the Second Degree Murder charge. Crouch will also get credit for time served, about two years. It was said that currently it is estimated that inmates will serve about 85% of their sentence with good behavior time taken off. Crouch also had four, 5-year sentences related to an earlier attack on an ex-girlfriend and his drug possession with intent to distribute charges imposed with all 20 years suspended. He will be on supervised probation for five years after his release.
While getting credit for his time served, two years was later tacked on to the 28-year-9-month sentence, on a probation violation charge argued outside the plea agreement. Arguing that aspect of the cases, Assistant Commonwealth Attorney Nick Manthos countered defense co-counsel Eric Wiseley’s call to waive the two additional years of active incarceration after his client received nearly three times the sentence George Good did for their respective roles in Brinklow’s murder.
Manthos, as Commonwealth Attorney John Bell had earlier, noted that while Crouch held to his story that it was Good who actually beat Brinklow to death, the physical evidence matched Good’s story that it was Crouch who attacked and strangled Brinklow to death in a methamphetamine-induced paranoid delusional state. Crouch did admit to being up for at least five days straight, perhaps as many as 10 days, doing an extraordinary amount of methamphetamine – he estimated at 3.5 grams (an 8-ball) to twice that amount per day – while trying to finance being on the run from police from an incident several days earlier in which he non-fatally had strangled an ex-girlfriend.
The Commonwealth noted that in his earlier attack on the ex-girlfriend, Crouch had not only choked her but cut off a large portion of her hair. When Good led authorities to Brinklow’s decomposed body, a bone in the neck was discovered broken at autopsy indicative of strangulation, and a large portion of Brinklow’s hair was discovered cut off. Those aspects of the earlier Crouch attack on the ex-girlfriend were not known to Good, the prosecution told the court.
The fact that all the crimes he enter guilty pleas to, including the assault on his ex, the methamphetamine use, and dealing, as well as Brinklow’s murder, occurred while Crouch was on probation led Judge Sharp to side with the prosecution on the necessity of imposing the two probation violation years hanging over Crouch – “There has to be a consequence, otherwise probation means nothing,” Judge Sharp said in rendering his decision on that second part of the day’s hearing on Crouch’s fate behind bars.
While admitting to the drug use and paranoid state leading him to believe that he was going to be robbed of his meth stash worth several thousand dollars, Crouch insisted that Brinklow coming at him with a knife and Good’s response of pulling him off Crouch and beating him to death was not a part of his drug-induced delusions. However, it seemed Crouch and his attorney in the plea sentencing, Howard Manheimer, may have been the only two in court buying into that scenario. It appeared seven relatives and friends accompanied Jennifer Brinklow to court Monday.
Several times asked by the court if he had anything to say before decisions were rendered, Crouch in a low, emotional voice expressed remorse, saying, “I am so sorry, I am so sorry with all my heart.” Crouch told the court and Brinklow’s mother that he had become involved in a jailhouse ministry conducted at RSW and related drug abuse counseling to try and steer inmates away from drug addiction upon their release.
He also looked at Tristen’s mother testifying from the witness box directly in front of him as she recounted the multiple impacts, including being told she now suffers from PTSD (Post Traumatic Shock Disorder) in the wake of her son’s murder. “I didn’t know a person could live without a heart and soul,” Mrs. Brinklow told the courtroom of her life since December 13, 2019, when she was informed it was her missing son’s body discovered in an abandoned freezer near the river. The murder occurred in September 2019.
She said tears came often, stimulated by “a smell, food, a cloud – ANYTHING. I never had anxiety, now there are places I can’t go without breaking down … It’s beyond obvious those two did not know Trey – a few minutes with him and he’d give you anything he had … Four days after he turned 20 you took his life – he was just a kid.”
Following the rendering of his plea agreement sentence of 28-years-9-months, Judge Sharp told Crouch he hoped he made the best out of the portion of his life that will now be spent in prison; that he was truly remorseful for letting a dangerous, illegal drug get a grip on his life that led to this point; and that he would continue to work to counsel others away from a similar fate, and turn his life in a positive direction.
“I wish you luck,” the judge told Crouch.
“Thank you,” Crouch replied.
Edward Jones partnering with Marines Toys for Tots program
Local Edward Jones financial advisor Bret Hrbek is partnering once again with U.S. Marine Corps Reserve on their Toys for Tots program.
If you would like to contribute a new unwrapped toy, please bring your donation to his office by December 15th If you are unable to drop off your donation, he’ll be happy to pick it up. Just call his office and let them know.
If you are an online shopper, you may have the items delivered to their branch at 986 John Marshall Highway, Suite C, Front Royal, Virginia 22630.
Additionally, Toys for Tots accepts toy donations online. Visit https://www.toysfortots.org.
This is a wonderful chance to make sure many others in our community enjoy a little bit of holiday cheer this season.
Thank you for your participation in Toys for Tots. Because of your thoughtfulness, children in our area will enjoy a brighter holiday season.
4 driving mistakes to avoid in winter
At times, driving conditions in winter can be treacherous. Consequently, it’s important to always remain vigilant when you’re behind the wheel. In addition, try to avoid making these four dangerous blunders.
1. Using cruise control
The cruise control function on your car and slippery roads don’t mix. In fact, instead of slowing down your vehicle if it loses traction, this feature will accelerate your car to ensure it maintains a constant speed. This is a recipe for disaster, as you could easily lose control.
2. Running on empty
If you park your car outdoors with a near-empty tank of gas, condensation could form in your tank and freeze. This could damage your car’s internal mechanisms. In addition, if you get stuck in a traffic jam or unexpected situation, you could easily find yourself stranded.
3. Changing lanes unnecessarily
By changing lanes, you risk skidding on a patch of black ice or sinking into a snowdrift. Overtaking another vehicle is especially dangerous on bridges and overpasses, as these freeze quickly due to their increased exposure to the elements. It’s best to simply stay in your lane when driving in severe weather conditions.
4. Relying solely on all-wheel drive
Although vehicles with four-wheel drive generally react well in bad weather conditions, they don’t automatically keep you safe. It’s important to always remain vigilant when driving on winter roads.
Avoiding these mistakes can help keep you and other road users safe. In addition, make sure you maintain a safe following distance and adjust your speed to suit the road conditions.
What do animals do in winter?
In winter, animals have to be able to endure frosty temperatures and a decrease in the amount of available food. Here are seven creatures that have adapted and developed strategies to survive the season.
1. Monarch butterflies
These orange-winged butterflies fly thousands of miles to overwinter in Mexico. Even though monarchs can travel between 50 and 100 miles a day, this journey takes several months to complete.
Fish cannot regulate their own body temperature and, consequently, it changes based on the temperature of the water. In order to be able to live in cold water, cod rely on antifreeze proteins. This prevents their blood from freezing.
In the fall, hares grow a thick, white winter coat. This transformation allows them to stay warm in frigid temperatures and remain camouflaged in the snow.
Bees spend the winter in their hive. When the cold weather hits, the worker bees gather around their queen and vibrate their wing muscles to keep her warm.
5. Striped chipmunks
These small mammals are true hibernators. They roll up into a small ball and sleep all winter long without leaving their burrow. They slow down their breathing, body temperature, and heart rate during this time. Since they expend almost no energy, chipmunks can survive on their fat reserves.
Many birds migrate south when the temperature starts to drop. Chickadees, however, overwinter in some of the coldest northern regions. During this time, they change their diet and eat seeds instead of insects. Moreover, they can puff out their feathers to shelter themselves from the cold.
Most people assume that bears hibernate all winter. However, this isn’t strictly true. In actuality, bears simply lower their metabolic rate and go into a light sleep. Consequently, they may occasionally wake up in winter if they hear a loud noise. Furthermore, female bears have their cubs at this time of the year.
Animals have adapted to cold and snowy winters in many different ways. The unique traits they develop allow them to both stay warm and remain nourished throughout the season.