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Suspect in Tolson-Middletown murder investigation arrested

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Security camera footage of suspect in fatal Middletown shooting

On November 5, 2020, at approximately 11:55 AM, Johnathan Mihokovich was apprehended in Fauquier County, Virginia. Investigators with the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office assisted Fauquier County and the U.S. Marshalls office with the arrest.

Mihokovich was wanted on warrants obtained through Frederick County for failure to appear, possession of a controlled substance and two counts of Felony Distribution of a controlled substance. Mihokovich is also the main person of interest in the Homicide of Keith Tolson that occurred in the early morning hours of October 27, 2020. See Related Story

Mihokovich is currently being held at the Fauquier County Detention Center and the investigation into the Homicide of Keith Tolson continues. This is the only information that is being released at this time.



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Front Royal man arrested for local business robbery

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On Saturday morning, October 24, 2020, around 7:00 a.m., Front Royal Police Department responded to a business in the 200 block of S. Royal Avenue for a reported robbery that occurred in the overnight hours. The suspect made entry into the business by breaking the glass in the front door of the business. During the incident, a cash register and a safe were taken containing an undisclosed amount of U.S. currency. Detectives worked diligently, processed the scene, and collected multiple pieces of evidence and submitted them to the Virginia Department of Forensic Science lab for analysis.

On May 10, 2021, the analysis returned from the state lab and police identified the suspect as 57-year-old Front Royal resident, William Roy Foster. Mr. Foster was charged on 05/11/2021 and served the warrant while incarcerated at Rappahannock Shenandoah Warren (RSW) Regional Jail, where he is serving a sentence for a similar matter. Foster is being held without bond with a scheduled court date of June 8, 2021 at 10:00 a.m. in Warren County General District Court.

William Roy Foster. Photo / RSW Regional Jail

Anyone with any further information is asked to contact Front Royal Detective T.A. Smith at (540) 635-2208 or by email at tasmith@frontroyalva.com.


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Two Winchester, VA residents arrested after investigation by the Northwest Virginia Regional Drug and Gang Task Force

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On April 29, the Northwest Virginia Regional Drug and Gang Task Force concluded a month-long investigation with the arrest of two Winchester, VA residents. Rasheed Riley, 29, and Josie Peacoe, 31, both of Winchester, VA, were arrested by the Northwest Virginia Regional Drug and Gang Task Force following a search warrant executed at their residence.

Josie Peacoe, 31, and  Rasheed Riley, 29, both of Winchester, VA, were arrested by the Northwest Virginia Regional Drug and Gang Task Force following a search warrant executed at their residence.

 

In early April, Northwest Virginia Regional Drug and Gang Task Force officers received information that Rasheed Riley and Josie Peacoe were distributing large quantities of cocaine in the Winchester and Frederick County, VA area. Through the course of the investigation, Northwest Virginia Drug and Gang Task Force officers learned that Riley and Peacoe would routinely travel outside the Commonwealth to a cocaine source of supply. The pair would then transport the cocaine back to the Commonwealth for distribution and sale. Northwest Virginia Regional Drug and Gang Task Force officers completed multiple controlled purchases of cocaine from Riley and Peacoe during the investigation.

On April 29, members of the Northwest Virginia Regional Drug and Gang Task Force obtained a search warrant for Riley and Peacoe’s residence located at 2971-116 Valley Avenue in Winchester, VA. During a search of the residence, 266 grams of cocaine with a street value of $12,350.00, 2.5 grams of crack cocaine with a street value of $250.00, $1,570.00 in currency, and 1 firearm was seized. Rasheed Riley and Josie Peacoe were both arrested. Rasheed Riley was charged with possession of a schedule I/II controlled substance, a probation violation, and an active felony warrant for forging and uttering. Josie Peacoe was arrested for distribution of a schedule I/II controlled substance. Additional charges are forthcoming for Riley and Peacoe.


The Northwest Virginia Regional Drug and Gang Task Force was assisted by the Winchester Police Department, Frederick County Sheriff’s Office, and the District 11 Office of Probation & Parole.

The Northwest Virginia Regional Drug and Gang Task Force is comprised of law enforcement personnel from the Clarke, Frederick, Page, and Shenandoah County Sheriff’s Departments, Front Royal, Luray, Strasburg, and Winchester Police Departments, and the Virginia State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation, Culpeper Field Office.

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Judge will hear oral arguments in reconsideration of Meza appointment decision

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In an April 29th letter to attorneys for the plaintiff and defendants in the legal challenge of the appointment of Jacob Meza to the Front Royal Town Council four days after the term he chose not to run for re-election to in November had expired, Judge William W. Sharp alerted both sides that he will hear oral arguments on the plaintiff motion for reconsideration of the court decision that the appointment was legal.

Citing scheduling and other factors, Sharp noted he was staying his Order of Dismissal of the plaintiff’s case until those oral arguments can be heard. A date has yet to be set as counsel and court availability is still being determined.

It will be back to the Warren County Courthouse for additional oral arguments on the legality of Jacob Meza’s, below left, Jan. 4 appointment to fill now Mayor Holloway’s vacant council seat. Royal Examiner File Photos by Roger Bianchini

In his letter to plaintiff Paul Aldrich’s counsel David Downes and Town and Meza attorney Heather Bardot, Judge Sharp explained: “Not a small part of my decision to enter the stay order and give one last chance for oral argument, is my realization that I gave a very poor articulation of my reasons for my original decision, and I do not want to make that mistake again. It is, therefore, my intention to give a written explanation of my decision, whichever way it goes, in which my words are more carefully expressed.”


As reported in our story on the April 7 hearing and court ruling “Judge rules Town Charter Section 47 does not prohibit council appointments for one year” Judge Sharp seized on the inclusion of the words “appointed or elected” in Town Charter Section 47 upon which the plaintiff case was based, in ruling for the defense stance that Meza’s appointment was not prohibited for one year from the end of his last term on council.

The relevant Section 47 passage reads: “No member of the council of the Town of Front Royal shall be appointed or elected to any office under the jurisdiction of the council while he is a member of the council, or for one year thereafter,” continuing to note for an unexplained reason an exception for the position of Town Treasurer.

As previously reported by The Royal Examiner, “In her Demurrer filing for dismissal, Bardot pointed to Section 6D and related wording on filling council vacancies, such as the one created by Councilman Chris Holloway’s November 2020 election to mayor. ‘The council may fill any vacancy that occurs within the membership of council for the unexpired term, provided that such vacancy is taken within 45 days of the office becoming vacant,’ Section 6D states. No reference to a one-year hiatus per appointment is made here, Bardot noted.”

Pointing to the words “or elected” in Section 47 of the Town Charter, Judge Sharp noted that obviously in the 84 years since the Charter was created, it had not been used to prevent council members from running for re-election. Thus, he contended Section 47 was not the applicable section of the charter at issue in internal appointments, siding with Bardot’s conclusion that Sections 6 and 9 of the Charter were the applicable sections on council appointments, rather than Section 47.

However, plaintiff counsel Downes argued that the framers of the 1937 Town Charter were using the words “appointed” or “elected” synonymously referencing achieving a consensus on internal appointments, and not referencing general elections decided by citizen’s votes. The framers’ intent was to avoid the fact or appearance of cronyism by political allies within council, Downes asserted.

Some supporters of the plaintiff case have noted Meza might have faced an uphill battle had he run for re-election in 2020 after alienating a segment of his support base during his last term. That lost base appeared in reaction to Meza’s reversal of initial recusals from discussion of his employer Valley Health’s request for a municipal loan through the EDA to finance the construction of the new Warren Memorial Hospital without a Maternity Unit. When his vote was needed to achieve the necessary council majority to approve the loan, Meza reversed course, claiming no conflict of interest to prevent his voting. He did note the support of that stance by the town attorney.

As far back as 2018 ‘Birth Local’ demonstrators were making their case for not eliminating some patient services at the new hospital. And they were not happy with Councilman Meza’s decision to reverse previous recusals from the topic, to vote for approval of the EDA loan to his employer Valley Health, for construction of the new hospital minus a Maternity Unit and other patient amenities deemed not financially viable.

Meza cited job and family time constraints in explaining his decision not to run for re-election in 2020.

As to delays in finalizing the order to dismiss the plaintiff case due to any lack of clarity in verbally rendering his April 7 ruling, on April 29 Judge Sharp observed, “In a case of this complexity and magnitude, I normally would have taken your arguments under advisement on April 7 and prepared a carefully worded final decision. As I stated in the courtroom, I wanted to give the parties a prompt decision to prevent ongoing uncertainty. It is evident from reviewing your subsequent pleadings that I may have created more problems than I solved, and I do want to clarify a few points so that we do not go chasing down rabbit holes, and miss the core issues.”

And one might guess that among core issues during the oral arguments for reconsideration will be the plaintiff counsel’s observation that a council member’s term has yet to expire when they are running for re-election. Thus, if re-elected, one term flows seamlessly into the next without any real-time out of office.

It might also be relevant to the court’s reconsideration to establish whether, in the intervening 84 years since the Town Charter’s 1937 establishment, any former council members have been reappointed within a year of electing to leave office by choice or having been removed by the will of the people at the general election.

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Sheriff’s Office seizes Fentanyl laced drugs, street value $40,000

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On April 28, 2021, Warren County Sheriff’s Office Special Problem and Drug Enforcement (S.P.A.D.E.) Units conducted a traffic stop on a vehicle for a speeding violation. During the traffic stop investigation, a Warren County Sheriff’s Office K-9 was utilized for a free air sniff. The K-9 alerted to the presence of narcotics odor and a subsequent search of the vehicle was conducted.

During that search, the passenger was found to possess approximately 1,000 imitation Oxycodone pills containing FENTANYL, with a street value of $40,000. This suspect was arrested and transported to the RSW Regional Jail and charged with VA code 46.2-248 Possession with Intent to Distribute Schedule I/II Narcotics.

The Warren County Sheriff’s Office would like to remind the community that FENTANYL is a synthetic opioid 50-100 times more potent than morphine and a lethal dose can be as little as 2 milligrams. Again, medications not obtained from legitimate doctors and pharmacists can be laced with FENTANYL.

Please, if anyone has any information that would lead to the seizure of these or any dangerous drugs, contact the Warren County Sheriff’s Office and ask to speak with an Investigator assigned to the S.P.A.D.E. Unit.


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Armed, barricaded subject incident in Frederick County ends peacefully

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On 4/23/21 the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office responded to 2492-46 Martinsburg Pike in regard to a domestic situation involving a firearm. The caller advised that Michael McGhee was intoxicated and that he had taken her vehicle, crashed it, and then returned to the residence where an argument ensued where McGhee stated he wanted to kill himself. Dispatchers were informed that the female caller took the couple’s 6-year-old child and fled the residence after McGhee grabbed a hunting-type rifle and fired a single round inside the house.

Arriving units on the scene set up a perimeter and evacuated neighboring residences out of an abundance of caution for the public’s safety. Once securing the perimeter, loudspeaker announcements were made to instruct McGhee to come out of the house unarmed without success. A command post was established and, after a situational briefing, the FCSO Crisis Negotiations Team (CNT) and SWAT team were both activated and responded to the call.

Once SWAT and CNT were on scene, a portable two-way communications device was deployed into the residence in an attempt to communicate with McGhee. Numerous attempts to contact McGhee via the portable device, his cellphone, and ongoing loudspeaker announcements were all unsuccessful. McGhee’s father, who was now on the scene, also attempted numerous times to talk his son out of the house with negative results. A portable robotic device from the Winchester P.D.’s SWAT team was deployed but was unable to maneuver through all areas inside the dwelling
to verify McGhee’s location and condition.

In a final attempt to avoid a forced entry and possible armed confrontation with McGhee, chemical agents were deployed to get McGhee to exit the residence peacefully. After the first disbursement appeared unsuccessful, a pole camera was deployed through a bedroom window. A heat source was detected and appeared to show a person on the bed hiding under the covers.



SWAT member’s made entry into the house and toward that bedroom door. While moving forward a door that was cracked open was slammed shut. Again, trying to avoid a possible armed conflict, SWAT was pulled out and another deployment of chemical agents was made into that specific room.

A few moments after this deployment, McGhee came to the bedroom window and advised he was coming out and proceeded to exit out of the bedroom window where he was taken into custody without incident. McGhee was checked out by EMS, where he refused medical treatment, before being taken to the adult detention facility.

Warrants for Felony discharge of a firearm in a dwelling and brandishing a firearm were obtained and served with McGhee being held without bond.

Sheriff Lenny Millholland is pleased with the handling of this situation and relieved that everyone involved is safe. “I can’t express my gratitude enough for the professionalism displayed by our people today,” said the Sheriff, noting this is the second such type of incident in the past few weeks. Sheriff Millholland concluded “While we hope for a time when such things no longer take place, the sad truth is it can happen anywhere. That’s why we will continue to acquire necessary equipment and provide the proper training to address any such type of incident.”

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Front Royal man charged for sexual solicitation of underage victims

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On Wednesday, April 14, 2021, Front Royal Police detectives initiated an investigation regarding the solicitation of minors in the Warren County/Front Royal area. Detectives started a proactive approach to apprehend individuals soliciting underage victims for sexual purposes.

An undercover operation ensued, and an adult male began soliciting one of our detectives who he believed to be an underage female for photographs and sexually explicit material. The adult male suspect sent sexually explicit materials to the detective. The initial conversation was unsolicited and started by the offender in this case.

Police identified the suspect as 20-year-old Front Royal resident, Daniel Currence. Currence was arrested on 04/16/2021 and transported to the Rappahannock Shenandoah Warren (RSW) Regional Jail. Currence was ordered to be held on a $5,000 secured bond with a scheduled court date of May 20, 2021 at 9:00 a.m. in Warren County Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court.

Daniel Andrew Currence. Photo/RSW Regional Jail


The Front Royal Police Department is an active member of the Northern Virginia/DC Metro (NOVA/DC) Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force, which is coordinated by the Virginia State Police.  We request anyone with information regarding the exploitation of a minor to contact Front Royal Police Detective M.R. Ramey at (540) 636-2208 or by email at mramey@frontroyalva.com.

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Many business owners struggled with the consequences of COVID-19 in 2020. Now, more than a year later, many of those same business owners have turned chaos into creativity finding new opportunities for growth. The Fauquier[...]
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10:00 am Backcountry Basics: Earth Connec... @ Sky Meadows State Park
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Backcountry Basics: Earth Connection Series @ Sky Meadows State Park
Meet at the Carriage Barn in Historic Area. Connect with the park’s landscape and get a taste of the skills you need to thrive in the backcountry. Participants will join experienced outdoor skills instructor Tim[...]
10:00 am Six-Button Mess – Civil War Enca... @ Sky Meadows State Park
Six-Button Mess – Civil War Enca... @ Sky Meadows State Park
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Six-Button Mess - Civil War Encampment @ Sky Meadows State Park
Historic Area. Journey back in time and immerse yourself in the sights, sounds and smells of a Civil War Encampment. Interact with the Six-Button Mess as they perform daily tasks of the Confederate soldiers. See[...]
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10:00 am Six-Button Mess – Civil War Enca... @ Sky Meadows State Park
Six-Button Mess – Civil War Enca... @ Sky Meadows State Park
May 23 @ 10:00 am – 2:00 pm
Six-Button Mess - Civil War Encampment @ Sky Meadows State Park
Historic Area. Journey back in time and immerse yourself in the sights, sounds and smells of a Civil War Encampment. Interact with the Six-Button Mess as they perform daily tasks of the Confederate soldiers. See[...]
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10:00 am Stroll Along the Stream: Riparia... @ Sky Meadows State Park
Stroll Along the Stream: Riparia... @ Sky Meadows State Park
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Stroll Along the Stream: Riparian Buffer Exploration @ Sky Meadows State Park
Meet at Backcountry Trailhead. Explore the Gap Run’s unique ecosystem called a “riparian buffer,” the zone of trees, shrubs, and other vegetation alongside waterways. Discover the amazing ways our native plants protect water quality and[...]
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Clean the Bay Day @ Sky Meadows State Park
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Boston Mill Road Trail near Park Office. Learn how fences and tree plantings improve water quality at Sky Meadows State Park. Stop by our Explorer Outpost table along the Boston Mill Road Trail where kids[...]
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National Trails Day @ Sky Meadows State Park
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National Trails Day @ Sky Meadows State Park
Meet at the intersection of the Boston Mill Road and James Ball trails. Get your hands dirty as we work to improve the hiking experience on James Ball Trail. Discover how uncontrolled water erodes topsoil,[...]
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Blacksmith Shop in the Historic Area. The forge is fired up and the blacksmiths are hard at work in the Historic Area. Members of the Blacksmith Guild of the Potomac have set up shop and[...]
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11:00 am VA State Parks History and Cultu... @ Sky Meadows State Park
VA State Parks History and Cultu... @ Sky Meadows State Park
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VA State Parks History and Culture: Water Powered Mills @ Sky Meadows State Park
Historic Area. Over 50 streams and waterways crisscross Fauquier County, once powering nearly 300 mills and providing an important service to local farmers such as Abner Settle. Located in close proximity to Sky Meadows, along[...]