Radford City Commonwealth's Attorney

Chris Rehak

           Cases & Major Accomplishments

Serving as Commonwealth’s Attorney for the City of Radford has provided numerous occasions of personal and professional triumph.  Police officers, probation officers, witnesses, victims, judges and even jurors share credit for justice well done.  The leadership and successful results outlined below reflect my hard work and skilled support of a dedicated staff.  After pouring my heart and soul into these cases, I am very proud of our results and achievements. 


Murder Cases

1.  MURDER CASE: Just four days after I assumed the role as Commonwealth's Attorney, Radford had its first capital murder in over 30 years on May 4, 2004.   Aamir Brown, age eighteen, committed a drug related robbery along with two other co-defendants.  Brown shot and killed Brian Gray and wounded another man.  Within a few short days Brown and his co-defendants were arrested and charged by Radford City Police.  Plea agreements for the accessories netted Ronal Parris 12 years and Roy Hodge 7½ years in prison.  Brown was convicted and given a 70 year sentence in a plea agreement on March 8, 2005.  This first major crime would mark a long string of complicated but successful cases investigated and prepared by Radford's law enforcement team.  Hodge, who cooperated with police and received the smallest sentence, would later be back in court.   He violated probation in 2014 and was sentenced to 15 more months.  He got another 6 years on February 6, 2017, for violating probation yet again.  

2.  MURDER CASE: On June 15, 2000, Lori Pleasants, age 23, was found murdered in her apartment after hosting a small late night party.  The crime was unsolved for six years.  Inheriting the case when taking over as Commonwealth’s Attorney, I pledged to re-evaluate the evidence and crafted a new strategy to find the perpetrator.  During the summer of 2006 we called almost two dozen witnesses to appear before a special investigative grand jury.  On October 16, 2006, that grand jury indicted William Gutersloh for murder and defiling a corpse.  Gutersloh was held without bond and demanded speedy trial (five months), hence a trial date was set for February 2007.  A dramatic one week jury trial ended with guilty verdicts on March 2, 2007.  The Radford jury sentenced defendant to life in prison.  The Radford City Police and Virginia State Police deserve credit for diligently investigating this case for over five years.

3.  MURDER CASE: Just six months after my first ever murder case jury trial, I did another murder jury trial.  I prosecuted Bob Shell, age fifty-five, for the death of Marion Franklin.  I also inherited this complicated case when I became Commonwealth’s Attorney in 2004.  On June 3, 2003, Marion, age nineteen, was found dead at defendant’s photography studio.  The investigation revealed Marion overdosed on morphine and was sexually assaulted after death.  Some of these crimes were actually photographed by the defendant.  Unfortunately, Shell was granted bond and released from jail pending trial.  After sixteen continuances and three different defense attorneys, the case was finally tried in August 2007.  The shocking two-week jury trial ended with multiple convictions and Shell was sentenced to 32½ years in prison.  The scope and magnitude of the Shell case was a monumental test which Radford law enforcement passed with flying colors.

4.  MURDER CASE: On July 5, 2006, while preparing for the Shell murder trial we had another homicide.  Ken Henry was gunned down in a staged robbery committed by James Jones and his girlfriend Kelly Lance.  The identity of the shooter was comprised by conflicting statements.  The trial for Jones ended with an acquittal on capital murder but guilty verdicts for robbery and use of a firearm.   In a stunning and disappointing twist of fate, the jury was unable to reach a consensus on punishment which resulted in a mistrial.  I was forced to consider doing the case all over again.  Shifting developments made plea agreements for both defendants prudent.  Jones was given 30 years with 25 years suspended and Lance was given 4 years.  Upon release, both were placed on supervised probation.  I had a hunch we would see Lance and Jones again.  After serving his active sentence, Jones transferred probation to Ohio.  In 2012, he tested positive for drugs and was given 6 months of his suspended Radford time.  Just months later, he again tested positive for cocaine and marijuana.  On January 10, 2014, the Radford City Circuit Court imposed / revoked 8 more years of suspended time for his second probation violation.  Jones will have served 13½ years and remains on probation under a suspended sentence when released in 2022.  Lance would also come back to Radford City.  She received 5 years for new convictions for her part in a Giles County meth lab.  On August 26, 2016, our judge imposed another 5 years of her suspended Radford sentence for violating probation.  I worked to successfully change Virginia law to fix the hung "sentencing" jury dilemma in 2012. (HB77 / Virginia Code 19.2-295.1)   

5.  MURDER CASE: On September 14, 2008, William Ritter, age twenty, pushed Bobby Thomason over an apartment balcony during an altercation.  Thomason died of serious head injuries a few days later.  Problematic case specifics and alcohol blood levels warranted a plea agreement.  The victim’s family supported avoiding trial and Ritter was convicted on September 18, 2009, of manslaughter.  He was sentenced to 10 years with 8½ years suspended and ordered to pay restitution for medical expenses and funeral costs in the amount of $11,785.

6.   MURDER CASE: On April 2, 2009, Floyd Wright was shot and killed by Philip Beale Jr.  The crime scene and subsequent investigation was riddled with complications; inclement weather, limited physical evidence, inconclusive line-ups, conflicting witness statements and even a false confession.  Beale’s father originally confessed to the crime.  Both Beales were charged and held without bond.  I tried the case to a judge (non-jury) over a week.  On July 26, 2009, Beale Jr. was found guilty of first-degree murder and related firearm charges.  The judge sentenced him to 40 years in prison.  Beale Senior was convicted for his role in the crime and served 16 months for lying to authorities.  The family of the victim was very grateful for the verdict and diligent efforts of law enforcement.  The Radford City Police Department once again conducted a murder investigation in a professional manner under extraordinarily unique and challenging circumstances.  Defendant unsuccessfully appealed to the Virginia Court of Appeals and the Virginia Supreme Court. 

7.  MURDER CASE: On the night of October 16, 2010, Sam Mason drank an entire bottle of liquor and was killed in a Radford University TKE fraternity hazing ritual.  Mason, who had a blood alcohol level of .48 was not even twenty-one years of age.  With little cooperation from the fraternity, I utilized a special investigative grand jury during the summer of 2011.  Compelled sworn testimony revealed facts sufficient to indict and charge seven members of the organization.  All seven were convicted and fined by agreement for hazing and supplying alcohol to an underage person.  Dustin Moore, who directly provided the bottle to Mason, received a fine and 30 days in our local jail.  Manslaughter charges were waived only out of consideration for the wishes of the Mason family.  I was interviewed and quoted in a March 2013 Men's Health Magazine article about college binge drinking.

8.  MURDER CASE: On October 21, 2010, Jason Stigger, age twenty-seven, was robbed and brutally gunned down while working as the late night manager of Papa John’s Pizza.  There were no eyewitnesses and little physical evidence to assist in solving these crimes.  The murder weapon was not left at the scene and no shells or casings were recovered.  Not only were the perpetrators at large, suspect descriptions were non-existent as the business did not utilize a video surveillance system.  Dedicated police officers worked non-stop all night and a lone suspect was quickly identified.   A troubled co-worker, Kenneth Lytton, was charged and convicted of capital murder.  Lytton, age forty-five, accepted a plea agreement and received three "capital" life sentences (without parole) on May 27, 2011.  The victim's family was not in favor of the death penalty.

9.  MURDER CASE: On August 12, 2011, a child age ten accidentally shot and killed his sister who was fourteen.  I made the decision to charge the juvenile defendant with reckless handling of a firearm as opposed to felony manslaughter.  The juvenile court judge accepted a no contest plea, deferred conviction and ordered therapy and family counseling.  The firearm was secured until the child unlocked a gun-safe, hence charging the gun owner (defendant's father) was not appropriate. 

10.  MURDER CASE: On June 30, 2012, Radford City Police responded to a shooting call around noon.  Officers found Travis Smith bleeding from a single gunshot wound to the chest.  He was pronounced dead on the scene by EMS personnel.  After a thorough investigation, the shooting was determined accidental and the gun was fired by the victim's own brother Samuel Smith.  Samuel, playing with a handgun thought to be unloaded, pointed the weapon at Travis and pulled the trigger.  The Commonwealth consulted the victim's family and made a plea offer in accord with their wishes.  The charge of second-degree murder was reduced to involuntary manslaughter and a guilty plea was accepted on February 15, 2013.  Defendant received a suspended 10 year sentence, $500 fine and active supervised probation for 2 years.  By all accounts this was an accidental shooting completely devoid of motive or malice and the crime is categorized as manslaughter.  The unusual nature of this tragedy further supported a disposition of probation.  This was the second gun related accidental shooting death in a row involving family members in our City.  Playing with guns is dangerous and the public is reminded to handle firearms with extreme caution and never assume a gun is unloaded.

11.  MURDER CASE: On August 19, 2011, Radford City Police responded downtown just before midnight to an altercation with injuries.  Michael Duncan was unresponsive and suffering severe head trauma.  Police determined Duncan was struck in the face outside a bar and fell backwards hitting his head on the sidewalk.  He was taken to the hospital and never regained consciousness.  Erik Czajkowski was charged with aggravated malicious wounding and involuntary manslaughter.  Unfortunately, there were few eyewitnesses to the entire exchange between Duncan and Czajkowski.  Defendant asserted Duncan struck the first blow and claimed self-defense.  Decedent was highly intoxicated, disorderly and removed from the bar just before his encounter with Czajkowski.  In contemplation of facts, legal issues and the uncertainties of trial, the Commonwealth collaborated with the victim's family and carefully negotiated a plea agreement.  Defendant entered a no contest plea and was sentenced to 18 months in prison on July 25, 2013.  He was convicted of involuntary manslaughter and given 10 years with 9 years suspended as well as unlawful wounding with 5 years with 4½ years suspended.  The two sentences run consecutively for a 15 year total and include 5 years of active probation upon release.  Restitution for funeral expenses in the amount of $11,902.92 was paid to the victim's family before the plea agreement was finalized.  The Commonwealth firmly believes the assault of Michael Duncan was an unprovoked attack, however, the resulting death by all accounts was accidental and properly treated as involuntary manslaughter.  Securing convictions, avoiding appeals and sparing the victim's family the pain and anxiety of trial were also factors taken into account.  This tragedy highlights hazards of drinking alcohol normally overlooked.  Excessive alcohol consumption tends to foster bravado, aggressive behavior, poor choices and violence.  

12.  MURDER CASE: On May 24, 2012, a fatal car crash occurred at the intersection of Rock Road and Tyler Avenue.  Thomas Dindinger, age nineteen, was driving a vehicle which ran the traffic signal and collided with another car killing Preston Williams, age seventy.  Dindinger was smoking synthetic marijuana and blacked out while operating his car.  A front seat passenger grabbed the wheel and attempted to steer the car.  Defendant was charged with driving under the influence of drugs and vehicular manslaughter.  After consulting the victim's family a plea offer was designed and defendant entered a guilty plea to involuntary vehicular manslaughter and driving under the influence of drugs on September 20, 2013.  Dindinger was sentenced to 10 years with 9 years suspended.  Restitution in the amount of $8,414 was paid to the victim's family as part of our agreement.  While defendant's blood test was negative for chemicals, the Commonwealth would have proven ingesting this specific drug may cause adverse reactions immediately.

13.  MURDER CASE: On February 27, 2017, Griffith Goodyear shared his Suboxone medication with two individuals, including nineteen year-old Shakeem James.  The one-time use cost James his life as he died of an overdose.  Because the death occurred as a result of a dangerous felony (distribution), Goodyear was charged with felony murder.  Goodyear was convicted and sentenced on May 7, 2018, by way of plea agreement to 20 years with 15 years suspended.  This tragic death demonstrates the dangers of experimenting with drugs and highlights the fact even trying prescription medicine can be fatal.

14.  MURDER CASE: Radford City Police charged Luisa Ines Cutting with second degree murder for stabbing her roommate Alexa Cannon on January 24, 2019.  This case was extraordinarily unusual and tragic.  It was an honor and privilege to represent the life of Alexa.  I worked with her family who provided thoughtful input and helped craft the plea agreement terms which incorporated a complex balance of facts, trial options and proportionality.  Perhaps more importantly, the agreement secured a murder conviction, avoided any appeals and spared Alexa’s family and friends the anguish and anxiety of trial.  The Commonwealth also considered the impact and viability of defenses such as insanity, irresistible impulse and voluntary intoxication.  Second degree murder appropriately fit our specific facts, reflected the provable criminal intent and achieved justice.   Cutting was sentenced to serve 40 years with 20 years suspended on October 7, 2019.

15.  MURDER CASE: (Special prosecutor for Pulaski County)  Brent Harrell, age 19, was charged with the first degree murder of Chandler Dowell.  Dowell suffered a fatal knife wound in the early morning hours of February 23, 2019.  The parties, once friends, agreed to fistfight while feuding over the affections of a girl.  Defendant claimed the stabbing was necessary and justified as self-defense.  The two-day bench trial ended with a conviction for second-degree murder on September 29, 2020.  I am proud of the result and honored to represent the life of Chandler.  Harrell was sentenced to serve 20 years in prison on January 25, 2021.    

​16.  MURDER CASE: On April 16, 2020, Andrew Byrd brutally beat two year-old Harper Mitchell.  She died a few days later as a result of blunt force trauma to the head.  Byrd was charged with aggravated murder and child abuse.  He also was charged with related violent crimes committed against Harper's mother, Amanda Mitchell.  Defendant rejected my plea offer and opted for a jury trial.  After four days of testimony, a Radford jury convicted defendant on March 30, 2023, of aggravated murder, aggravated malicious wounding, child abuse, abduction, assault, brandishing a firearm and possession of methamphetamine.  Since Virginia abolished the death penalty in 2021, Byrd faced a mandatory life sentence without parole. On October 6, 2023, Byrd was sentenced to two consecutive life sentences. Felony murder and child neglect charges against Amanda Mitchell are still pending. 

17.  MURDER CASE: Amanda Mitchell testified against Andrew Bryd at his murder trial.  Her testimony contributed to a charging decision whereby she has been indicted for felony murder of her daughter Harper.  Case is pending.  

18.  MURDER CASE: (Special prosecutor for Giles County)  On July 24, 2020, Michael Acord, was caught speeding on his motorcycle and failed to stop for police.  A five mile pursuit at speeds of over 100 mph ended suddenly in a violent crash.  Acord, age 28, was pronounced dead at the scene.  Two different police dashboard cameras captured defendant suddenly moving his car directly in the path of the motorcycle.   With just two seconds notice and at a speed of 78 mph, Michael was forced to dump the bike and slammed into the stopped police car.  Town of Narrows Police Officer, Chad Stilley, was indicted by a Giles County grand jury on July 13, 2021.  He was charged with involuntary manslaughter, reckless driving and fail to yield right of way.  After a three day jury trial focused on roadblock policy and rules concerning use of deadly force, the judge dismissed the charges.  It was a privilege and honor to represent the life of Michael Acord.  As a former police officer myself, this was an extraordinarily difficult responsibility. Well before the Giles County grand jury returned indictments finding probable cause, I had already decided trial was appropriate, believing a fair-minded juror could conclude beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused was guilty based on all the facts and evidence. The Commonwealth’s actions were measured, appropriate and consistent with obligations to uphold the law without fear or favor.

                           Sexual Assault Cases

1.  On Saturday, May 6, 2006, Oluyomi Martins planned to obtain his diploma and graduate from Radford University at 11:00 am.  Instead, he sexually assaulted a sleeping female student at 1:00 a.m. that morning and was arrested just hours later by police.  Radford City Police quickly collected valuable evidence at the scene.  I tried the case and convinced the jury Martins was guilty beyond a reasonable doubt on February 19, 2009. He was sentenced by the jury to serve 8 years in prison and did not graduate from Radford University.

2.  Trey Ganzert performed a sex act on a sleeping and intoxicated female student the night of September 21, 2007.  After meeting with the victim charges were placed and a jury trial was set.  On November 5, 2009, a Radford jury was unable to reach a unanimous agreement and a hung jury or mistrial was declared.  My commitment to seek justice was matched only by the courageous victim who agreed to try the case to another jury a second time.  Unfortunately, Ganzert was found not guilty by the second jury on April 22, 2010.  While the outcome was very disappointing, this is a classic example of my stance on sexual assault crimes.  Victims will be heard, offenders will be charged and Radford jurors will decide these cases.

3.  Travis Hunter was found not guilty of rape after a long one-day bench trial November 6, 2008.  Just four months later he would be arrested for burglary with the intent to commit an assault.  Ironically, the victim was David Oliver (see Oliver drug case).  This time I was successful in prosecuting Hunter, who was sentenced by plea agreement on January 27, 2010, and given 10 years suspended and probation for 5 years.

4.  On June 7, 2012, Vittorian Devlin entered a guilty "Alford" plea in Radford City Circuit Court to aggravated sexual battery and was sentenced by agreement to 20 years with 17 years suspended and fined $2,000.  On April 23, 2011, Devlin was involved in a bizarre sexual assault of a female Radford University student.  Defendant used a ploy and asked the victim if he could use her bathroom.  Once inside her dorm room he cornered the victim and masturbated on her.  The victim's shirt was preserved and DNA evidence matched defendant.  Defendant was also indefinitely banned from Radford University and became a registered sex offender.  On October 26, 2010, Devlin was convicted of stealing guns in Pulaski County and faced a probation violation.  RU police did an excellent job collecting evidence, identifying the suspect and obtaining his statement.  This case demonstrates our team commitment to provide a safe environment for the student population.  These dangerous opportunistic predators and sexually deviant criminals will be caught and punished.

5.  Shortly after the newspapers ran a story about our June 2012 conviction on Vittorian Devlin, another victim recognized his photograph and reported a past rape.  Devlin was charged with a "new" sexual assault based on this account.  On June 19, 2014, Devlin was sentenced to serve 3 more years in prison. 

6.  On January 25, 2013, Shawn Bonds, age thirty-four, raped an intoxicated college student while she was asleep.  The Commonwealth demanded a jury trial resulting in a conviction on January 24, 2014.  The jury sentenced defendant to 10 years in prison.  The victim testified she went to bed after a night of heavy drinking only to wake up being sexually assaulted by a stranger.  Bonds was quickly identified by witnesses at the party, interviewed by police and denied having sex.  He later changed his story claiming sex was consensual and the victim was awake during the encounter.  Defendant was convicted previously in Radford of attempting almost the exact the same thing (burglary, grand larceny and sexual battery) in April 2011.  That victim fortunately woke up right after being touched.  Bonds received 20 years with 18 years suspended for those crimes and as a result faced a probation violation hearing.  After exhausting his rape appeals, Bonds was given 5 more years for violating probation on August 12, 2016.  Once again citizens were well-served by excellent police work.  Credit must also be given to the courageous victim as well as jury members who diligently listened to the case, examined the evidence and followed the law.  While consent defense rape cases are extremely hard to prove, I will continue to fight for victims of sexual assault and let a jury decide the issue of reasonable doubt.

7.  In June 2012, Joslyn Alldredge, age seventeen , sexually assaulted / raped a woman who was mentally handicapped and previously found to be legally incapacitated.  The assault took place inside Wade's Supermarket, defendant's place of employment.  The government charged rape and prepared the victim for a fall 2013 trial.  Unfortunately, seconds after being called to the witness stand, fear and anxiety prevented our victim from testifying.  I was forced to make a rapid and difficult decision.  Alldredge pled guilty to a reduced charge of aggravated sexual battery with the maximum possible sentence of 20 years.  Most of those 20 years was suspended by agreement and he was placed on probation as a registered sex offender.  I made the best of a bad situation, and Alldredge did not last long on probation.  Within just months he was arrested in Christiansburg for a sexual assault and given 2 years in prison.  Our aggravated sexual battery conviction helped increase the Montgomery County sentence.  Alldredge was returned to Radford Court for his probation violation.  On October 24, 2014, defendant was given 5 years of his suspended sentence to serve consecutive to the 2 years imposed by Montgomery County.

8.  A 15 year-old juvenile was drugged and raped by Eric Diamond, age twenty-four, on July 29, 2015.  The child victim was given muscle relaxing medication and supplied alcohol.  Diamond also video-recorded portions of the sexual assault.   Police not only recovered the video, but obtained a blood test for the victim which confirmed the presence of prescription narcotics.  A plea agreement was secured which spared the victim trauma, anxiety and eliminated the uncertainty of court.  Instead, we convicted defendant of rape, drug distribution and manufacture of child pornography.  On July 8, 2016, Diamond was given 50 years with 38 years suspended.  Those 12 years will be served in addition to 3 years he received that same week in Montgomery County for possession of child pornography.  This cross-jurisdictional coordinated 15 year prison sentence is not the end of the story.  While held in the regional jail, Diamond plotted to kill the victim, lead detective and the Radford City Commonwealth’s Attorney (me).  The Virginia State Police investigated these threats and charges were obtained in Pulaski County.  On June 19, 2017, Diamond entered a plea and was given another 4 years to serve for planning the murders, bringing his punishment total to 19 years in prison.    


9.  In the fall of 2016, Radford City Police received complaints from several different women who were customers at a local massage business.  Dave Flanagan, age thirty-nine, was charged with felony sex crimes as well as dozens of misdemeanor sex offenses. The number of victims was five until another victim came forward in the spring of 2017. Defendant was held in jail for almost six months without bond.  On June 6, 2017, Flanagan entered a guilty plea to a felony charge of aggravated sexual battery and five misdemeanor sexual battery charges.
The agreement included the provision defendant would permanently surrender any license to massage and agree to never work as a massage therapist.  The sentences were run concurrent for a ten (10) year total with five (5) months active time and fines totaling $1,000.  Flanagan not only became a convicted felon, but also is forever required to register as a sexually violent predator.  This case was very unique and the final disposition closes a sad and troubling chapter in the annals of Radford City crime.  I commend all the brave victims who came forward and reported this abuse, as well as the fine work of Detective Sergeant Jerry Holdaway of the Radford City Police Department.  The plea agreement was crafted with the concurrence and input of each victim who understandably wanted to avoid court and preserve their remaining privacy.  While the Commonwealth was fully prepared to conduct seven separate jury trials, the guilty plea and punishment reflects the appropriate balance of facts and proportionality.    

10. One of the most disturbing things I have ever seen happened around 1:00 a.m. the morning of October 2, 2016.  Matthew Moles and Justin Fahringer were at a Radford bar and met a woman who was very intoxicated.  These two predators would befriend the victim and lure her across town.  At times, Moles and Farhinger carried the helpless woman who could no longer walk unassisted much less protect herself.  Unable to find a private and secluded indoor location, the two monsters would instead gratify themselves in a dirty alley behind a convenience store.  They took turns brutally raping and sodomizing the victim for almost twenty minutes.  Fortunately, a concerned passerby noticed the assault and notified law enforcement.  Radford City Police responded within seconds, arriving while the act was still in progress and arrested the two.  The entire horror was recorded on exterior store surveillance cameras.  Excellent police work quickly identified the perpetrators and a strong case was built to disprove the defense of consent.  Fahringer foolishly challenged our case and had a jury trial.  On September 17, 2017, a Radford jury convicted Fahringer and sentenced him to 57 years in prison.  To spare the brave but traumatized victim from testifying again, a negotiated agreement sent Moles to prison for 30 years at his guilty plea on July 16, 2018.  This case was the second of three very successful jury trials I conducted within a hectic sixteen day stretch (September 14 - September 29, 2017).    

14.  Michael Mendoza, age eighteen, sexually assaulted a young female who was fourteen years of age.  This was not a consensual encounter and pursuant to the victim's wishes, I negotiated a plea agreement.  On July 16, 2018, Mendoza entered a guilty plea to rape and strangulation.  He was given 40 years with 30 years suspended, probation upon release and will be a registered sex offender.   

15.  On November 18, 2016, Glen Revel, age 25, broke a screen and opened a ground-level window to enter an apartment.  Once inside, he sexually assaulted a sleeping adult female.  Revel fled the scene but was quickly identified and apprehended by Radford City patrol officers.  Revel entered a guilty plea and was sentenced by agreement to serve 20 years with 15 years suspended.  Revel, convicted of burglary, aggravated sexual battery and animate object sexual penetration, will also register as a sex offender after serving his 5 years.  The victim in this case did not want to testify and elected to safeguard her privacy.      


16.  On October 1, 2016, just two hours before another terrible rape would occur in Radford City (see #10 in this list), Marcus Hash age 21, raped an intoxicated 16 year-old girl. This juvenile was found half-naked and vomiting profusely.  Police Detective Eric McClanahan did stellar work pouring over surveillance videos to identify the suspect.  While Hash told police he did not have relations with anyone, DNA evidence from the victim's rape kit proved otherwise.  During a three-day jury trial on February 4-6, 2019,  Hash testified he did participate but now claimed it was consensual.  The jury was deadlocked 6-6 after several hours of deliberation.  I consulted the victim and a plea offer was extended while deliberations continued.  Hash entered a guilty plea to two misdemeanor charges of sexual battery and received 24 months in jail.  While very proud of another courageous young  victim, I am equally disappointed the jury was not moved to convict.  I will continue to prosecute these difficult cases and support our rape victims.  As societal attitudes about sexual assault slowly evolve, I can only hope juries will too. 

17.  In the spring of 2019, Radford City Police fielded reports of strange healthcare related services performed by Martin Riding in his garage.  Detective Carla Cross conducted an extensive investigation of "patients" and identified a large number of victims improperly treated without a medical license.  The Commonwealth charged Riding in the fall and successfully argued he should be held in jail with no bond over the holidays.  On February 28, 2020, Riding age 67, entered a guilty plea to sixteen (16) misdemeanor counts of practicing a profession or performing acts without proper license.  He was sentenced to twelve (12) months on each, run concurrent with no time suspended.  Defendant was also fined $3,200 or $200 for each conviction.  Defendant gets credit for time served, ordered to have no contact with the victims and barred from health care work and health related business ventures. The remaining charges were dismissed.  Any case with dozens of separate victims present a host of unique challenges, but these bizarre facts significantly complicated the Commonwealth’s legal strategies, trial preparations and plea negotiations.  Most victims were naive, vulnerable and find themselves understandably embarrassed yet angry.  This conviction agreement means those victims avoided court and preserved their privacy.  After considering victim input, I decided this compromise was best for all involved.  The plea agreement ensured convictions and eliminates the lingering appeals surely to have followed.  The object sexual penetration crimes required proving both intimidation and lack of consent beyond a reasonable doubt – just two of the issues which became increasing problematic.  Unfortunately, Virginia’s medical profession licensure laws provided their own set of difficulties.  Defendant contested the definition of invasive procedures and may have even been exempt under Virginia Code section 54.1-3001 which protects and excludes “any individual who provides stroking of the hands, feet, or ears or the use of touch, words, and directed movement, including healing touch, therapeutic touch, mind-body centering, orthobionomy, traeger therapy, reflexology, polarity therapy, reiki, qigong, muscle activation techniques, or practices with the primary purpose of affecting energy systems of the human body."  I helped the Virginia General Assembly fix our aggravated sexual battery law in 2020.  Now trainers, coaches, massage therapists, fake doctors and even real doctors can face 1-20 years in prison for inappropriate touching of certain areas without express consent while causing no physical injuries.   See Special Accomplishments #8 below.


             Child Abuse / Child Endangerment Cases

1.  I lost my first big jury trial, but even in defeat that painful experience serves as constant inspiration.  Charles Calfee was charged with sexually assaulting two young girls.  The child victims testified at trial, but the jury found defendant not guilty on September 5, 2003.  Rules of evidence prevented the jury from knowing defendant had two prior convictions for sexually assaulting children.  The “Calfee case” was a huge disappointment and made a tremendous impression on this young prosecutor.  I vowed to learn better methods, fight even harder for victims, assist police during the investigation, out-smart the criminals, outwork defense attorneys and fine-tune my trial skills.  The Calfee case launched my quest to change the law and improve the way we investigate and prosecute child abuse.

2.  My efforts to improve child abuse prosecutions started right away and are recounted in a (January 2004) news story from the Radford News Journal titled, "Every lawyer has one or two cases he or she just cannot quite shake." For Radford Commonwealth’s Attorney Chris Rehak, it is the child abuse cases he hangs onto a little more than others.   One case in particular led Rehak on a journey with a stop in Richmond Wednesday, speaking to members of the General Assembly in favor of a bill he proposed to local legislators earlier this month, which is now being sponsored by Senator John Edwards (D, Roanoke).  The bill would allow the prior convictions of sexual abuse defendants to be weighed by a jury in a current case.  After Rehak was the prosecutor in a case involving the alleged sexual abuse of two children in which the defendant was acquitted of the charges, Rehak started researching the issue of evidence admissibility concerning prior convictions of criminals pertaining to sexual crimes.  He found an evidentiary point of law he said “would have a dramatic and positive impact on child sex abuse cases,” and which he felt may be appropriate for legislative modification.  Rehak said he was motivated after prosecuting an individual accused of inanimate object penetration, indecent liberties and several counts of aggravated sexual battery.  “The child victims, ages four and six at the time of the abuse, six and eight the day of trial, waited three months to finally report the incidents to their mother,” Rehak said. “Police and social services went into action and a fairly detailed account of what happened was extracted from the two girls.  There was no physical evidence of abuse and the defendant denied wrongdoing.  The only evidence was the direct testimony of two girls recounting their horrible experiences.”  “The jury acquitted on all counts,” Rehak continued. “What the jury never knew was that the defendant was convicted in 1979 of attempted forcible sodomy and in 1999 was charged with the rape of a thirteen year old girl. The jury had no idea the same defendant had just been released from a Richmond jail a few months before the Radford abuse incidents.”  Rehak’s research is now in the form of Senate Bill 1280, sponsored by Edwards.  Rehak was invited to speak Wednesday afternoon before members of the Virginia General Assembly concerning the new child predator prevention law he has proposed.  He made a presentation before the Senate Courts of Justice Committee and said he is not sure how good a chance he has to get the bill passed, but he will keep trying.  “I plan to go back year after year if I have to,” Rehak said. “I know this is a significant, even radical, departure from the ways we do things now, but it will make a difference in prosecuting these cases, particularly when you have children involved.”  And, he adds, laws like the one he has proposed are not unheard of.  “Evidence of prior deviant sexual appetite is being introduced more often as laws of evidence are gradually being relaxed,” he said. “As often is the case, the federal government went first and blazed the trail.  The primary justification for these changes is the fact that in child molestation cases, often the only evidence is the testimony of the child-victim, whose credibility can be easily questioned without corroboration.” “This legislation would improve the chances these criminals are convicted in court and empower victimized children,” Rehak continued. “Children make easy prey; these crimes can be impossible to prove.  The government should try to even the odds for abused children and make a strong statement about where these monsters will stand when they sexually assault children the next time.  This law would also help reduce the likelihood repeat offenders avoid justice by hiding their past behavior.  These specific criminals are not promising rehabilitation candidates and exhibit high rates of recidivism.”  NOTE: I went to Richmond for several years trying to pass this new law.  In 2014, the General Assembly finally passed § 18.2-67.7:1, called “Evidence of similar crimes in child sexual offense cases.”

3.  Daniel McKinney sexually assaulted a young child in 2003.  Upon reading the police report I noticed we did not get a statement from the arrested defendant.  Recognizing we needed a confession to best shield the child from testifying, I quickly summoned a detective.  We went to the jail before his arraignment, read him Miranda rights and obtained a full confession from McKinney.  The recorded admission netted a guilty plea and 15 year prison sentence on September 2, 2003, and hence the young child was not required to testify.

4.  In 2002, I joined a groundbreaking exploratory committee to start the first Children’s Advocacy Center in our area.  The relatively new concept flourished and has dramatically improved child abuse investigations in the New River Valley.   The Center provides a child-friendly environment where abuse victims are thoroughly interviewed.  The questioning is done by specially trained staff utilizing specific standardized methods and techniques.  The interview room is equipped for clandestine video and audio recording.  The child victim is interviewed just once, avoiding the multiple rounds of questioning done in the past.

5.  On May 25, 2006, Josiah Baker was convicted and sentenced for sexually assaulting a young child.  Baker was given 70 years with 45 years suspended.  The plea agreement and 25 year active sentence spared the victim from testifying, secured a long sentence and eliminated any appeals.

6.  On January 10, 2008, Austin Wickline accepted a plea agreement and received 50 years with 38 years suspended for his role in sexually abusing two young children.  The plea agreement was drafted with victims and their families to avoid a trial yet punish appropriately.  The 12 year prison sentence was achieved with no trial.

7.  In July 2006, police monitoring internet traffic located a predator within Radford City broadcasting his intent to rape an underage girl.  The fictitious girl was actually a police officer who arranged a rendezvous with defendant.  Police waited and arrested Kalonji Woods who arrived to meet the child.  Woods got a 3 year prison sentence for solicitation of a minor and became a registered sex offender on January 24, 2008.

8.  In 2008, I prosecuted Hawthorne Reed, age sixty-three, for sexual abuse of a child.  The child victim disclosed the abuse six years after the assault occurred.  With no confession we went to a jury trial with nothing more than the detailed account from the minor child. Defendant foolishly rejected my offer for a completely suspended jail sentence.  The Radford jury convicted the former minister and sentenced him to 11 years in prison on June 20, 2008.  A perfect example of  a criminal tempting fate. 

9.  Justin Hatchell, age nineteen, was convicted by plea agreement and sentenced to 4 years in prison for sexually assaulting a four year-old child.  Once again the evidence was balanced against the expected testimony and trial trauma to the child victim.  Hatchell registered as a sex offender and received 10 years of probation upon release.   In 2012, he was found guilty of violating his probation and given another 1 year to serve.  On January 29, 2015, Hatchell was in court for his second probation violation.  I argued by failing to complete his sex-offender treatment, Hatchell was a danger who deserved a large sentence.  Our judge imposed the maximum sentence possible, all 15 years of the suspended prison time Hatchell had remaining.

10.  Frederick Roller was convicted and sentenced to a 3 year prison term for child sexual assault.  The plea agreement spared the young child victim from testifying in open court.  On October 29, 2010, Roller was given 20 years with 17 suspended and placed on probation for 10 years.  He also registered as a sex offender.

11.  Christopher Crouse was convicted of possession of child pornography.  On October 16, 2009, he pled guilty to three charges and was sentenced to 15 years with 14 years suspended and 10 years of probation.

12.  Darrell W. Mullins was convicted and sentenced on January 8, 2010, by plea agreement to serve 30 years in prison for child sexual assault.  Mullins received 50 years with 20 years suspended and 10 years of probation upon release.  Mullins had a 1998 rape conviction and a 2001 sexual battery.  Defendant will register as a sex offender and once again no child was forced to testify at trial.

13.  On February 2, 2010, agents of our internet crime task force intercepted child pornography downloaded by Andrew Cooke.  On October 1, 2010, he entered a plea agreement and was sentenced on ten counts to serve one year in prison and placed on probation.  Cook was fined $2,500 and required to register as a sex offender.

14.  On December 22, 2012, Radford City Police responded to an open door call in the west end of town.  Officers cautiously entered a dwelling, searched for intruders, found nobody present, secured the residence and contacted the home-owner via telephone.  Police were prompted to get a search warrant after finding illegal narcotics and drug paraphernalia in plain view.   Contraband was seized as well as a laptop computer found to contain hundreds of images of child pornography.  Arrest documents were issued as well as a second round of search warrants.  The defendant was Taj Mahon-Haft, a thirty-four year-old Radford University criminal justice professor.  Computer analysis would later find thousands of child porn images on defendant's computers and storage devices.  After the Commonwealth successfully defended the police entry of Haft's home, a guilty plea and 15 year sentence agreement was executed.  On December 19, 2013, Haft received 100 years in prison with 85 years suspended.  Defendant saved and copied illegal material but there was no evidence he physically hurt children or manufactured new images of child pornography.  Those who collect these images support and encourage more sexual child abuse by perpetuating the market.  Documenting child sex abuse and distributing child pornography is an international problem which has worsened with the development of the internet and wireless technology.  While finding subjects who collect and enjoy these images has become increasingly more difficult, those we can catch and identify will be prosecuted and severely punished.

15.  In the fall of 2013, Arthur Jones, age forty-three, communicated with a 13 year-old female child over the internet and expressed a sexual interest.  The victim represented herself to be over the age of eighteen.  Jones would eventually make the necessary arrangements to secretly meet.  At their initial meeting, Jones initiated sexual activity.  He then orchestrated a series of covert sexual liaisons at his Radford home over the next few weeks.  He instructed the child to sneak out of her home and would pick her up normally after midnight.  Jones would then take the victim back to his home in Radford where he systematically brainwashed the child with talk of love and even marriage.  He would repeatedly violate the victim and took her virginity.  Jones then would drop the child off at her home in the early morning hours so as to hide the encounters from her parents.  Jones entered a bare guilty plea to 68 counts of carnal knowledge and was sentenced by the court on May 29, 2015, to 100 years with 55 years suspended.  The Judge later reduced the 45 year active sentence to 29 years.  The Commonwealth had previously offered Jones a 20 year sentence which he rejected.  This case should serve to remind every parent to discuss internet safety with their children and be vigilant to monitor cell phones, text messages and computer access.  The Radford Police Department, especially Detective Carla Cross, did an excellent job investigating the case.  Criminals who prey on children will be identified, prosecuted and punished accordingly.  

16.  In the spring of 2013, Larry Whited, age sixty-one, was arrested and charged for sexually assaulting a five year-old child.  Defendant entered a plea agreement and the victim was spared the trauma of providing court testimony.  On October 24, 2014, Whited was convicted of twenty charges including animate object sexual penetration.  He received a 15 year prison sentence with 5 years of supervised probation upon release.  Whited will also register as a sex offender.

17.  In May 2016, accusations of child abuse and unauthorized corporal punishment were made against a daycare employee at The Radford Adventure Club.  Charlotte Hall was charged with five counts of assault and seven counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor.  During the investigation, center director Kimberly Albert, orchestrated a cover up effort by intimidating and threatening employees while also misleading concerned parents.  Hall agreed to testify as a witness which then prompted Albert to enter a guilty plea on August 25, 2016.  Albert was convicted of obstructing justice and sentenced to 6 months in jail (suspended) and fined $500.  On September 9, 2016, Hall was given a suspended 12 year sentenced, fined $1,200 and ordered to surrender any childcare licenses and never supervise or teach children. 

18.  In the spring of 2017, Radford City Police were alerted to an inappropriate but consensual relationship between a fifteen year-old girl and a 45 year-old man.  Paul Carper found the victim using the internet, developed a rapport and lured the underage victim to a meeting place.  Carper was soon arrested and charged with a variety of crimes, including possession of child pornography which was found on his cellphone.  Carper was convicted of aggravated sexual battery and child pornography crimes on  May 11, 2018.  He received 20 years with 18 years suspended and will register as a lifetime sex offender.  The teenage victim was understandably embarrassed and did not want to testify.  Cellphones, texts, the internet and anonymous dating apps have created a dangerous covert communication network.  These predatory criminals troll phone apps or the web searching for lonely and curious teenagers.  Often they target youngsters with troubled backgrounds who lack self-confidence.  The “hook” grooming tactic normally includes abundant praise, attention, gifts, compliments and the promise of a committed long-term relationship.     

19.  Three adult women came forward in 2018, reporting child abuse from a family member, Philip Foster, which occurred 1994-2000.   Radford Police Detective Carla Cross built a strong case and collected corroborating evidence.  Despite delayed disclosures and almost twenty years, I still encouraged the brave victims to prosecute and charged Foster with an assortment of child abuse sex crimes.  The victims requested a plea agreement to avoid the stress and pain of revisiting the abuse during a public trial.  Therefore, Foster entered a guilty plea to three counts of aggravated sexual battery (one for each victim) on September 13, 2019.  He was sentenced to 20 years with 16 years suspended.  Upon release, Foster will be placed on supervised probation for 5 years and register as a sex offender.      

20.  Brent Shepherd, age twenty-three, sent a series of inappropriate photographs and messages to a thirteen year-old girl in 2020.  As part of the investigation, Radford City Police Detective Austin Cox cleverly pretended to be the victim and responded to defendant on social media.  Shepherd sent more sexual photos, this time unknowingly to Detective Cox.  Shepherd was charged with using a communication system to solicit a minor and talking indecent liberties with a child.  He entered a guilty plea on March 12, 2021 and was sentenced by agreement to 20 years with 15 years suspended.  Upon release, Shepherd will be on probation and register as a sex offender.  

21.  Michael Reynolds, age thirty-five, was charged with the sexual abuse of a child which spanned  several years.  The victim was not forced to testify and a plea agreement was utilized instead.  Reynolds entered a guilty plea on April 23, 2021.  He was sentenced to 80 years with 50 years suspended.  After serving his 30 year prison term, he will be placed on probation and register as a sex offender.

22.  In June 2021, a Radford High School staff member (aide) was charged with child sex crimes for acts committed upon a student.  Ishmale Davis, age 23, was indicted on thirty felony charges including solicitation,  production of child pornography, possession of child pornography and taking indecent liberties with a minor.  Trial pending.  

23.  In 2019, a 19 year-old Zebedee Tucker sexually assaulted a 13 year-old whom he had befriended.  Tucker entered a plea agreement on November 11, 2021, and was convicted of carnal knowledge of a minor.  He received a 10 year sentence with 5 years suspended.  After serving  5 years in prison, Tucker will be placed on supervised probation and register as a sex offender.  Yet another brave young victim came forward, disclosed, was believed and saw justice done.     

24.  Todd Woods, age 34, was charged with not one, but two horrible cases of child abuse against his three month old infant.  Woods was suspected of hurting the child while he abused drugs.  The final episode occurred in December 2019, and sent the infant to the hospital for 22 days.  The Commonwealth had no eyewitnesses, no confession and a victim's mother who refused to cooperate.  On January 7, 2022, Todd Woods was convicted on two counts of felony child abuse permitting serious injury.  He received a 5 year suspended prison sentence and was placed on probation.  The Virginia Department of Social Services was heavily involved and continues to monitor the family.  


25.  Radford High School hired a student mentor / career coach to work with teenagers.  Instead he had sex with an underage pupil.  Ishmale Davis, age 23, abused trust, influence and authority to prey on a minor female student almost eight years his junior.  Davis compounded his poor judgement when he lied to police about the relationship.  While the victim felt pressured, it was primarily done with her consent.  However, police recovered from Davis several incriminating photographs of the dalliance.  He was charged with possession of child pornography, enticing a minor to act in pornography, production of child pornography and participating in the child pornography.  A plea agreement was executed on January 27, 2023, wherein Davis was sentenced to 50 years with 35 years suspended, hence 15 years to serve in prison.  No student should ever be the target of sexual exploitation, especially by a public school employee.    

26. Ralph Brewer, age 34, was a funeral home director in Wytheville, Virginia who preyed on a grieving family for his own sexually gratification.  He befriended the family and started to groom a female minor child age 12.  After earning "trust" and using his own children as lures, sleepovers and swimming pool play-dates were arranged in the summer of 2021.  Defendant would later ask for nude photos and also sent a picture of his genitals to the child.  Brewer ultimately touched the child's private parts, only to claim has was sleepwalking.  The victim disclosed the abuse and Brewer was charged in December 2021.  Defendant fled Virginia and ran to Florida were U.S. Marshals made an arrest in April 2022.  On February 14, 2023, Brewer entered a no contest plea and was sentenced by agreement to 60 years with 50 years suspended.   After serving 10 years, defendant will be placed on probation and register as a sex offender.  This is yet another proud example of a brave child abuse survivor who reported, was believed and got justice.

27. Zachariah Wilson, age 36, sexually abused a woman and a young child in 2021. The investigation resulted in charges and eventually a guilty plea on August 25, 2023. He was sentenced to 20 years with 10 years suspended.  Upon his release, defendant will be on supervised probation and register as a sex offender. This negotiated plea agreement spared two victims from the trauma and challenges of trial.    

28. In 2020, a brave young woman reported years of child sexual abuse by relative Joshua McGrady, age 40. The abuse worsened over time and started when the victim was just age seven. The Pulaski County Sheriff's Office did an excellent recorded interview with defendant and secured a full confession. While most of the abuse occurred in Pulaski County, some happened within the City of Radford. Pulaski County went to court first, convicting McGrady in a plea agreement with a 20 year active sentence. I strategically and patiently waited to charge McGrady - until right after he was sentenced in Pulaski. Radford then added sixty (60) felony indictments covering a wide range of perverse activities. A negotiated plea agreement was finalized on September 18, 2023, wherein McGrady was sentenced to 50 years with 30 years suspended. These 20 years will run consecutive to Pulaski time and give McGrady 40 total years of incarceration.

29. Dashawn Tucker, 2021, abduction with intent to defile. JURY VERDICT = GUILTY, details coming soon.

29. Molina Baker 2024, child pornography case - details coming soon.

30. Candy Campbell  2023, sexual child abuse - details coming soon.

31. Jeffery Proffitt 2023, sexual child abuse - details coming soon.

                                Robbery Cases

1.  Matthew Aslinger, age 19, used a threatening note to rob a bank on February 25, 2004.  After weeks of working with Aslinger to identify, charge and locate the other participant in the robbery, a plea agreement was reached.  On February 16, 2007, Aslinger entered a guilty plea, was sentenced to 50 years with 45 years suspended and placed on probation.  Since his release he violated the rules of probation several times and was brought back to our court on multiple occasions.  On June 29, 2020, the judge gave Aslinger 10 more years to serve of his previously suspended time. 

2.  Marcus Stewart, age nineteen, robbed the Radford Super 8 Motel on March 6, 2004.   On February 2, 2005, he was sentenced to 10 years in prison as part of a plea agreement.

3.  Matthew Dillon robbed the West End Deli Mart in March of 2006.  On September 15, 2006, he was convicted by plea agreement and sentenced to 6 years.  The defendant robbed other businesses in Pulaski County and received a large sentence there as well.

4.  On March 1, 2008, three college students were robbed in the 500 block of Fairfax Street.   Antonio Manuell "Manie" Billings was convicted of robbery, use of a firearm and malicious wounding on August 8, 2008.  He and a co-defendant used a BB gun which was later recovered from Billings' home.  Billings pistol-whipped one victim breaking his nose.  The conviction agreement ordered Billings to serve 20 years with 15 years suspended just for the robbery.  The firearm charge added another mandatory 3 years and malicious wounding was an agreement of 10 years with 10 years suspended.  Defendant's total active prison sentence was almost 8 years with 10 years of supervised probation upon release.  The other defendant, Marcole Ebron, was sentenced by agreement to 20 years with 16½ years suspended for his role in the robbery.  On the weapons charge he received another mandatory 3 year sentence run consecutive to his robbery sentence.  Ebron's total active prison sentence was therefore 6½ years with 10 years of supervised probation upon release.

5. On Halloween night 2011, at approximately 9:50 p.m., Radford City Police responded to a robbery at the CVS Pharmacy on Main Street.  Witnesses reported a masked suspect brandished a shotgun while demanding medication from the pharmacy.  The suspect fled the scene and was unsuccessful in obtaining money or medication.  Within hours of the attempted robbery, Derek Stevenson was located nearby, arrested and charged with several crimes.   On April 5, 2013, defendant entered a guilty plea pursuant to a conviction agreement for nine crimes; armed burglary, three attempted robberies, abduction, wearing mask in public, use firearm in robbery, use firearm in abduction and felon with firearm.  Stevenson was given 15 years in prison (53 years with 38 years suspended), fined $4,500 and placed on active probation for 10 years upon release.  This attempted robbery of a business was extremely dangerous and required a fast, strategic and well-coordinated response by the Radford City Police Department.  Helpful eyewitnesses enabled law enforcement to quickly disseminate a suspect description and establish a perimeter around the area.  Many criminals get away with masked robberies and are never identified, arrested or prosecuted. Stevenson was quickly caught, incarcerated and appropriately punished with a long prison term.  While nobody was seriously injured, this case again illustrates how drug addiction can lead to violence and constitutes a public safety threat to all citizens.

6.  On June 15, 2012, a 70 year-old woman returned home after working late and was beaten and robbed by an intruder hiding inside her residence.  Chase Patrick was implicated, arrested and held without bond.  Defendant was convicted on July 2, 2013, of aggravated malicious wounding, armed burglary and robbery.  He was sentenced to 30 years with 20 years suspended on each change.  Sentences were run concurrent for a 30 year total so Patrick will be incarcerated for 10 years.  Defendant was also fined $1,500 and given 5 years of probation upon release.  Our agreement required $944 restitution paid before court to the victim.  The home-invasion robbery of an elderly woman was cowardly and reprehensible.  The Radford City Police Department once again acted fast to find clues, identify, question and arrest the perpetrator.

7.  On March 5, 2013, Radford City Police responded to the 100 block of Copper Beach Drive for a home invasion robbery.  Officers located victims who reported two males entered their residence wearing bandanas on their faces and demanded jewelry, marijuana and other valuables.  The assailants were armed with handguns.  One of the subjects pistol-whipped a victim.  Police quickly identified the perpetrators and collected evidence.  Five individuals were ultimately determined to have conspired and acted in concert during the robbery.  Each defendant was responsible for a different role in the caper.  On February 14, 2014, William Minter entered into a plea agreement and was convicted of robbery and armed burglary.  Minter was sentenced to serve 10 years.  Also on February 14, 2014, Justin Little, entered into a similar plea agreement and received an 8 year active sentence.  On March 28, 2014, De’Lonnie Leggett was sentenced by way of agreement and received 3 years in prison.  This robbery was extremely dangerous and required a fast and well-coordinated response by police.  Many criminals get away with masked robberies and are never identified, arrested or prosecuted.  Robbers who target drug dealers are especially difficult to thwart because these crimes often go unreported.  

8.  On December 8, 2013, two armed masked individuals, Kevin Sheppard and Tonio Wade entered an apartment and robbed Francis Roach, Eugene Phelps and Clayton Roland.  Roach fought back, grabbed Sheppard's firearm and the gun discharged.  Roach miraculously sustained only a minor gunshot wound to the head as the bullet traveled just under his scalp.  Sheppard and Wade fled the scene in a getaway-car driven by Dustin Benitez.  The investigation determined five defendants orchestrated this robbery.  A female subject, Cady Tomlin initiated the plot as she told the robbers Roach had money and/or drugs in his possession and this would be an excellent opportunity to rob him.  Clinton Dillon remained outside as the lookout during the robbery.  All five defendants entered guilty pleas by agreement; Sheppard received 11 years to serve, Dillon got 8 years to serve, Wade got 7 years to serve, Tomlin was given 3 years to serve and Benitez got 2 years to serve.  Upon release, each will be placed on active supervised probation.

9.  On June 9, 2014, four bandits coordinated the assault and robbery of a drug dealer.  Ricky Julien, Colin Lynch, Elliott McCall and Rufus Gordon were each implicated.  While no weapons were displayed, the group broke into an apartment and beat the victim.  Robbers took cash, marijuana and the victim's cellphone.  Radford City police quickly identified and apprehended the gang who would all plead guilty and received active prison sentences.

10.  On March 3, 2015, two drug dealers were lured into an automobile as part of a planned attack under the guise of a drug transaction.  Instead of selling drugs, the two victims were driven to a remote location, pepper-sprayed, pistol-whipped and robbed of cash and drugs.  William Worrell and Kian Keeling were quickly identified by police as the robbers. The firearm was used by Worrell and the pepper spray was used by Keeling.  Both defendants were sentenced by agreement to serve 8 years in prison. 

11.  Kian Keeling was more than just a robber.  He also burglarized his former workplace on February 23, 2015.  He broke into the River City Grill at night taking cash from the restaurant.  Radford Police had already identified Keeling as their prime suspect when his name surfaced during the March 2015 drug robbery investigation.  Keeling confessed to robbery as well as the burglary and was sentenced to 8 years on July 8, 2016.    

12.  On December 3, 2014, Emmett Nixon left a bank with $14,000 in cash.  This transaction was observed by another customer, Stephanie Woolwine, who immediately launched a robbery plan.  She told her boyfriend, Scott Allen, about the money and provided the home address for the victim.  Allen solicited the help of Michael Herdman and Daryl Thomas.  The three robbers wore masks, attacked Nixon at his home, hit him in the face with a tire iron and stole the $14,000.  Fantastic police work by Radford City Police quickly identified the perpetrators.  All four criminals were convicted for their role in the assault and robbery.  Herdman, the getaway driver was sentenced to serve 6 years.  Thomas, who is believed to have struck Nixon, was given 15 years.  Woolwine and Allen were each sentenced to 12 years in prison.   

13.  Jeromy Dukes-Grayson, age eighteen, sold $200 worth of marijuana to an undercover informant on January 4, 2016.  On May 14, 2016, police caught Grayson with more marijuana, $238 cash and charged him for possession with intent to distribute marijuana.  On May 25, 2016, Grayson committed a burglary and robbed a rival drug dealer in Radford.  He brandished a BB gun during the early morning robbery.  Grayson tried to hide for a few days but was eventually incarcerated and held without bond.   On February 6, 2017, Grayson was convicted and sentenced to 30 years with 25 years suspended.  After serving his 5 years in prion, he will be on probation for 5 years.  

14.  Around noon on June 16, 2016, a masked man demanded money from the Carter Bank & Trust.  The robber did not display a weapon but was given cash.  Radford Police quickly responded and staged at key thoroughfares in the vicinity of the bank.  Evidence was recovered from the area and Bradley Wimmer was apprehended within a few hours.  Wimmer had no prior record and was very apologetic.  He told investigators he had mounting financial problems, young children to care for and acted foolishly in a momentary lapse of reason.  All money was recovered and Wimmer entered a guilty plea by agreement to serve 5 years on February 24, 2017.   

15.  Selling drugs is extremely risky as a few local marijuana dealers found out on September 24, 2015.  Tavaras Hamlett, Jeremy Hill and Malik Williams drove from South Boston to Radford in a rental a car looking for some easy money.  After locating a Radford marijuana dealer, the three men broke into the home while armed with a pistol, tied up the victim and stole money, drugs and other valuables.  During the robbery another victim walked in and was also robbed and abducted at gunpoint.  Not satisfied, the criminals then drove across town to another unsuspecting marijuana dealer and again committed armed burglary, abduction and robbery.  The outstanding investigation conducted by Radford City Police had all suspects identified and charged in mere days.  The Commonwealth elected to do Hamlett's case first, primarily because he challenged our evidence, foolishly rejected my offer of 15 years and demanded a jury trial.   On September 15, 2017 a Radford jury convicted Hamlett and sentenced him to serve 55 years.  Upon learning Hamlett received 40 years more than I offered, Williams and Hill were eager to accept a plea agreement and avoid jury trials.  Malik Williams, who was already a felon, was given 18 years to serve on May 7, 2018.  On June 8, 2018, Jeremy Hill was sentenced to serve 14 years for his part in these reckless and dangerous crimes.  This case was the first of three very successful jury trials I conducted within a hectic sixteen day stretch (September 14 - September 29, 2017).

16.  On August 30, 2017, a man looking to buy sex over the internet found a local escort service.  Terms were negotiated and a two-girls-for-one special was ordered.  The victim drove to Radford, but instead of sex with two girls, he was lured to a secluded area, punched, knocked out and robbed of cash and credit cards.  Detective Holdaway did a superb investigation and tracked the suspects using credit card activity and store surveillance videos.  Lorenzo Clements was charged with the vicious assault and two prostitutes, Aarissa Kasey and Aljalynn Roberson, were charged for their supporting roles.  Confessions from the two women confirmed the conspiracy to rob the victim.  Clements was sentenced by plea agreement to 30 years with 24 years suspended.  The two "bait" women agreed to testify against Clements if necessary and were each given 2 years in prison.

17.  Spencer Lewis Jr. was arrested at 1:00 a.m. on January 22, 2015, caught breaking into cars and stealing valuables in the Plan-A section of town.   He entered a guilty plea to grand larceny and was sentenced to 20 years with 19 years suspended.  Lewis was placed on active supervised probation upon release.  On March 25, 2018, Lewis robbed a drug dealer in the City of Radford and was apprehended within a few days.  He was sentenced to serve 7 years for the robbery under a plea agreement executed on April 20, 2019.  Because Lewis violated his grand larceny probation, the judge gave Lewis 7 more years to serve on July 29, 2019.  I gave Spencer Lewis a break on the original grand larceny incident.  But, rather than embrace probation and obey the law, Lewis tempted fate, challenged our criminal justice system and is now serving 14 years in prison.      

18. On January 12, 2021, three armed intruders broke into an apartment and robbed a  person of cash, wallet, cellphone and drugs.   The robbers brandished firearms and were disguised, including one wearing a clown mask.  Lt. Detective Jerry Holdaway did a stellar job investigating.  Jamari Melton, Desean Anderson and Tyeshawn Goodnight were arrested and charged with armed burglary, robbery, conspiracy and related weapons violations.  In early 2022, all three were convicted by guilty plea agreements to serve 7 years each with 5 years of probation upon release.

19.  On September 22, 2021, Michael Pack grabbed jewelry and ran out of P.R. Sturgill's. While Pack escaped initially, surveillance video lead to his rapid identity and arrest.   He was convicted of robbery and sentenced by plea agreement on January 7, 2022, to 20 years with 17 years suspended.  Pack will be on probation for 5 years and pay $$5,799 in restitution.  

20.  On November 12, 2022, Tory Calfee got into an argument with several people at an apartment in Radford.  He left only to return later and break in while armed with a concealed handgun.  He proceeded to rob two people, brandished the firearm at five people and physically assaulted one person.  Calfee was already a felon. By plea agreement, Calfee was convicted of armed burglary, robbery, carrying a concealed weapon as a felon, felon in possession of a firearm, use of a firearm to commit a felony, brandishing and assault and battery. He was sentenced on November 3, 2023, to 57 years with 50 years suspended.   

                                           Special Accomplishments

1.  In April 2004, I was appointed to serve as Radford City Commonwealth’s Attorney.  After consulting family and friends I followed my dream and started a grass-roots campaign to run for public office.  As a result of budget cuts, I worked alone assuming the duties of two prosecutors for the first few months.  With the start of the new budget year, Jason Annis, Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney joined my office on July 1, 2004.  I won the 2004 special election to fill the last year of a four-year term.  I thank everyone who trusted me with their vote and especially appreciate my close friends who worked hard on the campaign.

2.  In 2004, I was selected as a statewide instructor to teach Finding Words (now called ChildFirst). This one week class provides specialized child abuse investigation and legal training for police, prosecutors and social workers.  I attended the class first as a student and then received additional training to teach the subject.  I am very proud of my association with ChildFirst and the progress we have made sharing the best techniques for interviewing child victims and prosecuting these unique cases. 

3.  I proudly served on the Board of Directors for the Women’s Resource Center of the New River Valley for a decade.  The WRC provides safe shelter and resources for local victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. The WRC is a vital component for empowering victims and prevention education.  I enjoy and appreciate a strong working relationship with the WRC.

4.  Just a few months after winning my first election, I faced another campaign against a different but equally challenging opponent.  The 2005 re-election effort was for a full traditional four-year term.  I thank everyone who trusted me again with their vote and especially appreciate my team who worked hard on the back-to-back campaigns.


5.   In the spring of 2012, I lobbied Virginia lawmakers on behalf of the Virginia Association of Commonwealth’s Attorneys.  Senate Bill (SB77) was a pro-victim law which fixed a problem I encountered back in 2008.  A jury, which had convicted a defendant but unable to agree on a punishment, caused a mistrial and a new trial for defendant.  The victims would need to testify again simply because the jury could not unanimously decide on a sentence.  I spent several days at the General Assembly and testified before the Courts of Justice Committee.  Hung sentencing jury legislation SB77 passed and was signed into law by Governor McDonnell.  The change to Virginia Code 19.2-295.1 became effective July 1, 2012.

6.  In the fall of 2012, I collaborated with Radford City School teacher Joanne Cook and planned a mock trial exercise for her eighth grade civics classes.  I developed several different criminal cases wherein students played the roles of defense attorneys, prosecutors, witnesses, the accused and jury members.  On February 11, 2013, approximately 75 Dalton Intermediate School students conducted four mock trials at the Radford City Courthouse.  This unique opportunity allowed students to formulate persuasive arguments, apply analytical thinking and experience the process of a criminal trial by jury.  These mock trials have become an annual spring event for Radford's eighth grade government classes.

7.  In the fall of 2009, 2013, 2017 and 2021, I was up for re-election and very honored to run unopposed.  I do not take for granted my office or the democratic process which has made this all possible. 
My dedicated service, experience and impressive results have pleased constituents.  I hope to continue serving and look forward to our next and FINAL re-election effort in 2025.

8.  The Martin Riding (2019) and Dave Flanagan (2016) cases (see sexual assault #9 and #17) created a myriad of challenges.  Flanagan involved multiple victims of a rouge massage therapist and Riding was an unlicensed bible-based holistic healthcare provider who was digitally penetrating cancer patients in his garage.  The state of Michigan had adequate statutes in place when Larry Nassar (team doctor) was prosecuted in 2017.  Unfortunately, Virginia was not as prepared.  I struggled to find a felony charge and any misdemeanor comes with a one-year statute of limitations.  Virginia's felony aggravated sexual battery law required a serious injury done against one's will by force, threat or intimidation.  We had to fix this.  I aggressively lobbied, testified in Richmond and worked with patron Senator William DeSteph Jr. to pass SB 42 which goes into effect on July 1, 2020.  Virginia Code section 18.2-67.3 now includes: "the offense is not a recognized form of treatment in the profession, and is committed, without the express consent of the patient, by (i) a massage therapist, or a person purporting to be a massage therapist, during an actual or purported practice of massage therapy, as those terms are defined in § 54.1-3000; (ii) a person practicing or purporting to practice the healing arts, during an actual or purported practice of the healing arts, as those terms are defined in §§ 54.1-2900 and 54.1-2903; or, (iii) a physical therapist, or a person purporting to be a physical therapist, during an actual or purported practice of physical therapy, as those terms are defined in § 54.1-3473."

                                    Drug cases

1.  In 2004, a major drug distribution ring was dismantled by our regional drug task force in conjunction with federal agents.  The United States Attorney at the time, John Brownlee, spearheaded criminal charges against eleven individuals which resulted in long prison terms.  I became designated Special Assistant United States Attorney in 2004 and made local cooperation with federal law enforcement agencies a routine and mutually beneficial arrangement.

2.  Casey Cook sold cocaine and was given a 4½ year active sentence by plea agreement on December 2, 2005.  The sentence was 20 years with 15½ years suspended.

3.  William Redd Jr. was charged with selling cocaine in 2005.  On September 15, 2006 he entered a guilty plea and was sentenced by plea agreement to 7 years.  He received a 30 year sentence with 23 years suspended and was placed on 10 years of supervised probation.  Redd had a prior robbery conviction.

4.  On May 25, 2006, Ricky Simmons entered a guilty plea and was sentenced to serve 5½ years in prison for selling cocaine five times.  He received 20 years with 14½ years suspended and was fined $3,000.  The government also seized $781 in cash which was forfeited by defendant.  Simmons was placed on 10 years of supervised probation upon release.

5.  Robert Vazquez sold heroin four times in 2008.  Police subsequently executed a search warrant and found morphine in his home.  Defendant was sentenced to 20 years with 17 years suspended and 7 years of probation on October 31, 2008.

6.  Keith Smith sold drugs near a school in 2009.  The evidence and his prior record resulted in a 6½ year prison term.  Smith was convicted by plea agreement on January 7, 2011, and given 20 years with 13½ years suspended.  Defendant received 5 years of probation and was fined $2,000.

7.  Jonathan Burris sold marijuana three times and then was arrested during a search warrant.  Found with over one pound of marijuana and a firearm, Burris faced a mandatory five years in prison.  I dropped the firearm charge in exchange for a 3 year prison sentence.  On April 23, 2009, Burris received 10 years with 7 years suspended and was placed on 5 years of active supervised probation upon release.  Police also seized and kept $870 in cash.

8.  Christopher Keys brutally assaulted his elderly neighbor on May 21, 2008.  On October 9, 2009, defendant entered a guilty plea and was sentenced by agreement to 10 years with 9 years suspended and 8 years of probation.   He was convicted of malicious wounding, but after release from jail, Radford Police set up a marijuana buy from Keys.  He was convicted and given 18 months to serve for the drug sale and got 3 more years as a result of his probation violation.

9.  David Oliver was convicted of conspiracy to possess cocaine with the intent to distribute on December 11, 2009.  Oliver received 20 years with 18½ years suspended and was placed on probation for 10 years.  Defendant was also convicted of manufacture marijuana and embezzlement at the same time.  On May 24, 2012, he was convicted for scamming nine people in a fraudulent internet puppy sale scheme.  Oliver paid restitution to all nine victims and was given 6 months in jail for violating his original probation.   

10.  In July of 2005, Anthony Hungate was arrested for selling cocaine.  As a result of his cooperation he received a 20 years sentence suspended entirely, was ordered to pay police $330 restitution for drug buy-money and placed on probation.  Hungate violated probation in 2010 and was sent to a drug rehab program.  Hungate then sold meth in Pulaski County and was sentenced to 5 years in prison.  On November 18, 2011 we prosecuted Hungate for his second probation violation in Radford.  The Circuit Court gave him 12 years to serve on top of the 5 years in Pulaski for a 17 year total.

11.  In 2007 a small meth lab and several co-conspirators were uncovered by Radford police.  One of the defendants was Dominique Decample.  On September 12, 2008, he was convicted and given a 20 year sentence all suspended, but he was placed on probation.  Decample was arrested and later convicted of grand larceny and shoplifting.  While awaiting a consequence for his new arrests, Decample sold heroin in Radford and was held without bond.  Decample sold heroin in Pulaski also and had a new burglary case in Botetourt County.  Decample was sentenced on October 22, 2009 for our heroin sale and later had his probation revoked on May 6, 2012.  Decample got 7 years in Botetourt, 3 years for the Pulaski heroin sale, 3 years for the Radford heroin sale and 3 more years in Radford for violating his original 2008 probation.  Defendant got 16 years total for his misdeeds.

12.  Raymond Massey sold cocaine three times and was sentenced to 6 years in prison.  A plea agreement on April 20, 2012, imposed a 20 year sentence with 14 years suspended.  He was also fined $1,500 and ordered to pay $300 in restitution back to police for the buy-money.  Massey had a 1995 North Carolina robbery conviction.

13.  On June 11, 2012, Derrick Leon Chapman entered a guilty plea in Radford City Circuit Court for selling cocaine on three separate occasions and was given 12 years.  In November 1997, Chapman, then 19 and a former Radford High School football star, was acquitted of murder by a Pulaski County jury.  Anthony Keith Rempson Jr., was shot in the head while riding in a van in the New River section of Pulaski.  The defense maintained during trial the murder was committed by another individual after a drug deal.  In 1999, police arrested Chapman after he was implicated in a plan to kill Montgomery County Circuit Court Judge Ray Grubbs and another man's parents in order to collect insurance money and a car.  Chapman was convicted of three counts of conspiracy to commit capital murder and served 9 years in prison for his role in the plot.  After his release from prison in March 2008, Chapman returned to the City of Radford.  It was only a matter of weeks before rumors began to surface indicating Chapman may not be following the rules of probation.  Radford City Police were confronted with a rash of unsolved violent crimes and fielded tips and leads indicating Chapman was selling drugs.  We coordinated our resources to specifically target and covertly monitor his activity.  After several months of hard work, we successfully infiltrated Chapman's network in the fall of 2010 and purchased cocaine three times in twenty days utilizing an informant. The guilty plea for selling cocaine included a 20 year sentence with 15 years suspended and active probation for 10 years upon release.  Defendant also was ordered to pay $390.00 (drug buy-money) in restitution as part of his probation obligation.  Probation for the 2000 capital murder conspiracy charges (set to expire in 2018) was extended indefinitely.  I also got the probation violation time (7 years) imposed and run consecutive to the other sentences (5 years), so the total active sentence imposed by our conviction agreement was 12 years. Special thanks to the Radford City Police Department and the Claytor Lake Regional Drug Task Force for the skill and dedication to pursue this difficult defendant.  The citizens of Radford should be proud another dangerous criminal was caught, incarcerated and appropriately punished with a long prison term.  This chapter in the Derrick Chapman saga is a great example of how our team approach to interdicting criminal activity protects the community.

14.  Robert W. Harriman served 5 years in prison after convictions for selling drugs in 2002.  On March 9, 2011, the Radford City Circuit Court revoked the suspended sentence pursuant to Harriman's fifth probation violation.  The Judge gave defendant 7 more years to serve for violating the terms and conditions of probation.

15.  On April 19, 2011, Lorne Rivens went to settle a drug debt in the City of Radford.  He got the address wrong and mistakenly broke into the victim's home armed with a hammer. After demanding drugs, defendant assaulted an unsuspecting 22 year old student with the hammer inflicting relatively minor injuries.  Rivens fled the scene only to be identified and arrested by Radford City Police at his home a few blocks away.  He was held in jail without bond.  On July 6, 2012, a plea agreement was accepted by the Radford City Circuit Court and Rivens was convicted of malicious wounding, attempted robbery and burglary while armed with a weapon. He was sentenced to 15 years in prison and will be on active probation for 10 years upon release.   The conviction agreement was negotiated so as to include an additional 1 year prison term for a probation violation.  The total prison sentence imposed was 16 years.  Rivens was on probation at the time for a 2008 felony assault in Radford and was convicted in 1995 of armed robbery in Pulaski County.  Another dangerous criminal was quickly caught, incarcerated and appropriately punished with a long prison term.  This case illustrates how innocent citizens can be affected by random and violent acts of those who use and sell illegal drugs.

16.  Juaquin Maldonado was convicted for the distribution of cocaine and sentenced by plea agreement to 20 years with 19 years suspended in October 2010.  After serving his time defendant was arrested again after being found with over five pounds of marijuana in Montgomery County.  In September 2012, he was sentenced to 3 years for the new drug crime.  On November 11, 2012, the Radford City Circuit Court gave Maldonando another 7 years to serve in prison for violating the terms and conditions of his probation.

17.  Christina Lewis was convicted of selling cocaine in Radford several times in 2005-2006.  On October 20, 2006 a guilty plea and conviction agreement netted Lewis 20 years with 16½ years suspended.  In December 2012, she was convicted of conspiracy to rob and distributing cocaine in Montgomery County and given 2½ years to serve.  On April 18, 2013, we conducted a "first" probation violation hearing.  The Radford City Circuit Court imposed 10 years of the previously suspended sentence to run consecutive to her time in Montgomery County.   

18.  The very next day, April 19, 2013, Derek Turpin had his "second" probation violation hearing in Radford City Circuit Court.  Turpin was convicted of ten crimes on September 28, 2007.  These offenses include selling marijuana, selling cocaine, forging bank notes, making counterfeit money, conspiracy, etc.  A plea agreement imposed 20 years with 19½ years suspended.  In March 2009, Turpin again was again caught with drugs when arrested for throwing an object into an occupied dwelling during a dispute.  He got the minimum recommended under the sentencing guidelines (7 months) as he faced a probation violation hearing.  On November 4, 2010, he was given 2C years of his suspended sentence in Radford.  In March 2013, Turpin was convicted and sentenced to 16 months in Montgomery County for again forging money or bank notes.  On April 19, 2013, Derek Turpin was given 10 more years to serve for his second Radford probation violation. 

19.  On October 25, 2010, the Claytor Lake Regional Drug Task Force conducted a covert operation in the Town of Pulaski to purchase cocaine using a confidential informant.  Less than one gram of cocaine was purchased from Elliott Thomas Webb Jr. for $100.  Webb, who has two prior convictions for selling cocaine, was indicted February 22, 2011 for distribution of cocaine third offense.  I was appointed special prosecutor and demanded a jury trial.  A Pulaski jury found Webb guilty and recommended a 15 year prison sentence.  I made a pretrial plea offer to serve only 5 years which was rejected.  Once again citizens were well-served by excellent police work.  Credit must also be given to the informant who assisted law enforcement and jury members who diligently listened to the case, examined the evidence and followed the law.  It was a unique pleasure and privilege to prosecute this case for Pulaski County.  Criminals in the New River Valley should expect to be arrested, prosecuted and severely punished when appropriate.

20.  On October 25, 2010, the Radford City Police Department orchestrated the purchase of cocaine using an informant.  Fifty-five dollars was exchanged with Darius Dalton a former Radford University student from Martinsville.  The drug sold was less than one gram of cocaine.   Defendant was charged with the distribution of cocaine, a crime punishable from 5 to 40 years.  The Commonwealth demanded a jury trial which was held on September 6, 2013.  The Radford jury deliberated approximately two hours before finding Dalton guilty.  At the sentencing phase, the jury recommended the statutory minimum 5 year prison sentence.  Defendant had no prior convictions and was taken into custody immediately after the verdict.   This 5 year sentence for a first-time offender demonstrates the inherent power behind our bifurcated trial system.  After the guilt phase is concluded the same jury members reconvene and fix defendant's punishment.  Drug dealers who do business in the City of Radford will not only be arrested and prosecuted, but when necessary they will be tried, convicted and punished by a Radford jury.  Defendant foolishly rejected my offer for a much lower sentence.

21.  Danny Sheets was caught by Radford Police selling cocaine in 2002.  He was sentenced to serve a few months and placed on probation.  In August of 2012, he sold methamphetamine in Radford twice, but was no longer on probation.  While out on bond he was again caught, this time selling cocaine in May 2013.  On November 22, 2013, defendant was given a 10 year prison sentence.  Sheets was convicted by plea agreement receiving 80 years with 70 years suspended.  He will be on probation for 5 years upon release.

22.  Earnest Owens Jr. rejected my plea offer to serve just 6 years for selling heroin again.  Instead, a Radford jury doubled that figure and gave him 12 years in prison after convicting Owens on February 29, 2016.  Defendant had been caught selling heroin before and had other offenses on his criminal record.  Those who sell deadly and addictive poison for profit will face swift, severe and certain punishment.  This is one of many cases where my original plea offer, while firm, fair and reasonable, would have been a better result for defendant than the jury outcome.  I welcome every defendant to forgo a plea agreement and test the waters with a Radford jury.    

23.  On April 19, 2014, Radford City Police investigated the existence of a possible methamphetamine laboratory.  A search warrant executed at 2610 Second Street confirmed the dilapidated residence was home to a clandestine and very dangerous drug manufacturing operation.  Three small children were present and exposed to the toxic chemicals.  Four adults were implicated and charged with an assortment of crimes.  The subsequent plea agreements and sentences included: James Wheeling 3 years, April Wheeling 3 years, Michelle Wheeling 7 years and James Walker 7 years.

24.  The same Michelle Wheeling was on probation for 2011 convictions for possession of methamphetamine and child endangerment.   We agreed to a 10 year suspended sentence, probation and attempted drug rehabilitation.  Wheeling was convicted of shoplifting in 2014 and given 5 more years of mostly suspended time.  On March 6, 2017, a probation violation hearing was held and the judge revoked Wheeling's sentence and imposed another 7 consecutive years.  For electing to operate a meth lab around her three young children, Wheeling will spend 14 years in prison.        

25.  In 2013, Ryan Parris was found in possession of marijuana with the intent to distribute.  On October 24, 2014, he accepted a plea offer to serve 10 years with 9 years and 9 months suspended.  We also agreed to drop a charge of selling marijuana to a juvenile in exchange for his good behavior on probation.  Parris violated probation by selling cocaine in Radford on August 4, 2015.  He received 20 years with 18.5 years suspended.  On October 31, 2017, the court found Parris in violation of his probation and imposed all 9 years and 9 months in prison which had been previously suspended.  As promised, the Commonwealth charged Parris for the 2013 distribution of marijuana to a juvenile.  On July 17, 2017, defendant entered a guilty plea and had another year of consecutive prison time added to his sentence which totals 13 years.  

26.    Chad Fisher was thirty-four years of age when he sold morphine to an undercover informant in December 2010.   Fisher was given a 20 year suspended sentence and placed on probation.   In August of 2013, Fisher defrauded an 87 year-old neighbor of $26,000 and given a suspended sentence with ordered restitution.   The elderly victim suffered from dementia and was unable to testify.  In December of 2014, police targeted Fisher who was reportedly selling drugs again.   Police purchased Oxycodone three different times that winter.  Defendant was arrested, prosecuted for these new crimes and had his probation violated.  On July 24, 2015, by way of plea agreement, Fisher received 5 years in prison for the new drug charges.   On November 15, 2016, he faced probation violations for the original drug crime and defrauding an incapacitated person.  The judge gave defendant 7 more years for violating probation.  Fisher now has 12 years of total prison time.

27.  Jazzman Edmonds, age thirty-one, was caught selling cocaine twice in 2005 in Pulaski County. Edmonds was convicted of two distributions and sentenced to 20 years with 18 years suspended.  In late 2015, Radford City Police targeted an investigation to buy drugs specifically from Edmonds.   On January 27, 2016, a confidential informant purchased less than one gram of cocaine from Edmonds.  This third offense distribution of cocaine, landed Jazzman Edmonds behind bars for another 10 years.  He was convicted and sentenced by plea agreement on March 6, 2017, to 40 years with 30 years suspended. Edmonds will be on probation for 10 years after his release and forfeited the $8,290 dollars police seized when arresting him. This case is yet another great example of how Radford City Police work covertly to ensnare drug dealers, protect our citizens and make the City a safer place to live and work. Drug dealers who want to sell addictive poison for profit in Radford, can expect swift, severe and certain punishment.  

28.  On December 2, 2015, Darfet Weitherspoon was stopped by Radford City Police for a minor traffic violation.  The officer suspected drug activity and utilized a police K-9 which alerted on the vehicle.  Police found twenty small bags of heroin and seized $439 cash. Weitherspoon, age 45 and from Michigan, was convicted and sentenced by plea agreement on March 6, 2017.  He was given a 20 year sentence with 18 of those years suspended. Upon release he will be on supervised probation for 5 years.  

29.  On March 16, 2016, Radford City Police discovered a methamphetamine laboratory and obtained a search warrant for the premises.   Jeffery George was found to be making the drug and was arrested.  He was convicted and sentenced to 20 years with 15 years suspended by plea agreement on January 27, 2017.   George will be on probation for 5 years and forfeited $15,526 which was seized by law enforcement.   

30.  Marvin Williams sold cocaine to an undercover informant on September 22, 2015.  Williams had prior convictions for selling cocaine in New Jersey, Connecticut, North Carolina and U.S. Federal Court.   This defendant rejected my generous offer to serve the mandatory minimum sentence of only 10 years in prison.  Instead, a Radford jury convicted Williams of third or subsequent distribution and sent him him to prison for 20 years on September 28, 2017.  Drug dealers, especially repeat offenders,  who come to our city for business will be caught and incarcerated.  This case was the last of three very successful jury trials I conducted within a hectic sixteen day stretch (September 14 - September 29, 2017). 

31. Radford City Police discovered Gabriel Yuz Baez, age 19, was running an intricate illegal drug business in town.  On February 8, 2017, police executed a search warrant at an empty apartment Baez rented as a safe house.   Police recovered MDMA, two pounds of marijuana, cocaine and a firearm.  A safe containing over $25,000 in cash was also seized.  Baez, refused to cooperate with authorities in exchange for leniency, is believed to be connected with the infamous Mexican Drug Cartel.  Baez entered a bare guilty plea (no agreement) and was punished by the judge on January, 26, 2018.  He was sentenced to 35 years with 29½ years suspended.  Upon release, Baez will be on probation for  5 years and was fined $4,000.

32.  After two previous convictions in 2006 for selling cocaine in Pulaski, Robin Porter was caught selling cocaine again this time in Radford.  Police charged her with selling cocaine third offense and Porter faced mandatory prison time.  Since she provided substantial assistance and testified against Marvin Williams (see #30), I offered to slightly reduce the charges to a second offense.   On December 8, 2017, Porter entered a guilty plea and was sent to prison for 6 years.

33.  On March 18, 2017, James Atkinson sold cocaine to an undercover informant who was working with Radford City Police.  Williams was twice previously convicted of the same thing in 2011, making this his third offense.  Williams requested a jury trial and tested our case.  The Radford jury convicted Williams on April 12, 2018, and sentenced him to serve 7 years in prison. 

34.  Damarcus Gravely was 22 years old when he stole a laptop computer in Radford.  He entered a plea agreement in 2010, and was sentenced to 10 years for grand larceny - with mostly suspended prison time and supervised probation.  On February 25, 2012, Gravely became violent and smashed a glass beer bottle over a person's head.  We convicted Gravely of malicious wounding and sentenced him to 20 years with 18 years suspended in October of 2013.  Because he was already on probation, Gravely got another 10 months to serve in 2014 from his original larceny sentence.  Shortly after release from prison, Gravely was again breaking the law in the City of Radford while on probation.  This time he was reportedly selling cocaine.  Police from Radford and Montgomery County coordinated efforts and purchased drugs twice from Gravely in the summer of 2016.  Both Montgomery and Radford courts sentenced defendant to serve 3 years each consecutively.  Those 6 years will be served consecutive to the 10 years Gravely was given by the Radford court on July 30, 2018, for violating Radford City probation for the third time.  Gravely will be unable to steal, assault, peddle drugs or commit any other crimes outside of prison for the next 16 years.           

35.  Greg Martin was a career criminal who spent some time in our city and much more time in our jail.  The Radford City police purchased cocaine from Martin twice in late 2008.  On February 26, 2010, Martin entered a guilty plea and was convicted by agreement to serve 10 years with 8 years suspended.  Upon release, he was placed on 5 years of probation.  In 2011, Martin was convicted of possessing cocaine in North Carolina.  He was given an additional year to serve in Radford for violating probation.  On October 11, 2017, Martin was pulled over on a traffic stop in Radford but exited his car and ran from police.  He was quickly captured and found with cocaine and $1,786  in cash.  He was charged and convicted of third offense cocaine distribution.  On September 14, 2018, he was sentenced to 35 years with 24 years suspended.  Because Martin was still on probation from 2010, the judge revoked 4 more years of his previously suspended time.  With 11 years for drug charges and 4 years of revoked time, Martin will serve 15 years.    

36.  Radford City Police Department vice-unit detectives purchased .0477 grams of cocaine from Dwayne Allen Ray Jr. (a.k.a. "Squirmy") on July 18, 2018.  Ray was a career drug dealer with four prior convictions for the same crime in Pulaski County.  We charged Ray with third or subsequent distribution which carries a sentence range of 10 years to life.  After rejecting my offer to serve only 7 years - Ray got a jury trial.   On January 31, 2020, a Radford jury found Ray guilty and recommended he serve the mandatory minimum of 10 years in prison.  I enjoy the challenge of a jury trial, especially when a defendant rejects my fair offer to reduce their exposure.  We will continue to be aggressive in our battle against drug dealers, but particularly so when we catch repeat offenders.      

37.  Theron Woods was charged with domestic assault, strangulation and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon stemming from an incident in the fall of 2016.  While he was out on bond, police learned Woods was selling drugs.  Radford detectives purchased cocaine from Woods in July of 2017 and again in January 2018.  After almost two years on the run - Woods was found, arrested and held without bond.  Woods will serve 7 years after he entered a guilty plea agreement and accepted a sentence of 25 years with 18 years suspended on February 14, 2020.  While out on bond defendant was also charged in Montgomery County with distribution schedule I/II drug second offense and faces charges in Martinsville for malicious wounding, brandishing, unauthorized use, abduction, use of a firearm to commit a felony and another felon in possession of firearm. 

38.  Garrett Chapin is habitual drug dealer.  In 2016, Radford Police caught Chapin, then age 27, selling marijuana and cocaine.  He entered a guilty plea agreement and received 20 years with 19 years suspended and probation after release.  On February 18, 2020, Radford police discovered Chapin was back and selling lots of drugs out of hotel.  A search warrant of his hotel room was executed at the same Chapin was pulled over in his car just down the street.   Police found cocaine, MDMA, and marijuana in both places.  Officers also seized $2,945 in cash.  On August 27, 2021, Chapin was convicted of possession with intent to distribute and sentenced by agreement to serve 11 years, 60 years total with 49 years suspended.  Chapin also got in trouble in Rockingham County where he was sentenced to serve 27 months.  Because Chapin was on probation in Radford for his 2016 case, he was given an additional 4 more years to serve on March 7, 2022.  Chapin will now serve over 18 total years for his crimes .  

39.  Radford police purchased methamphetamine four times from Terry Riddle in 2020.  On March 11, 2022, he was convicted and sentenced by guilty plea agreement to 20 years with 16 years suspended.  After serving 4 years, Riddle will pay back $1,060 to the police for the used buy money.  

40.  On April 7, 2019, Radford police stopped a car and found drugs.  Douglas Adams had methamphetamine, heroin, cocaine and $733 in cash.  Adams was charged with PWID (possession with the intent to distribute) second offense.  He has a Pulaski County prior conviction for the same crime in 2006.  Adams was convicted by guilty plea agreement on January 13, 2022.  He forfeited the cash and was sentenced to 40 years with 34 years suspended.  After serving 6 years, Adams will be on probation for 5 years.  

41. 2023 -  Robert Hart case -  guilty plea, details coming soon. 

42. 2024 - Brown and Williams - drugs, machine gun and Tesla chase / crash. pending

Revenue, Cost Savings and Economic Issues

1.  I am a vocal proponent of having convicted criminals pay fines directly back to the City when possible.  These funds can then be used for general expenses, schools or even law enforcement.  I identified a flaw in the way we were charging individuals with DUI.  In 2004 I started charging these defendants under the City Code rather than under the state law.  This distinction redirected fines paid by these dangerous drivers to the City of Radford and not Richmond.  This new revenue source has generated over
$2,000,000 for our City.  This is just one simple example of my vision and experience resulting in better government for the citizens of Radford. On March 10, 2014, I proudly presented a commemorative check to our City for one million dollars.  See photo on home page.

​2.  I assist police in confiscating the assets and proceeds of criminal activity.  These funds, cash, cars, bank accounts, firearms and other property are forfeited to the government for use by police.  Since taking over the asset forfeiture program in 2004, I have managed the transfer of $546,727 in cash, guns, cars and other property to our police.  These assets, which were owned or used by criminals, are now available for local law enforcement.  

3.  In 2004, I made a concentrated effort to move the office for the Radford Commonwealth’s Attorney out of a rented privately-owned building into government controlled space at the courthouse.  I was first told to await the fall election results, then subsequently denied the request altogether.  After exploring other options, we moved to a building owned by the Industrial Development Authority in March of 2005.  This office space was formerly a school.  The space was much larger, more secure and reduced taxpayer rent costs.  The “old” Belle Heth served as home for seven years and fosters sentimental memories of some of our biggest cases.

4.  On August 26, 2011, the Office of the Radford City Commonwealth’s Attorney finally moved into the Radford City Courthouse for the first time ever.  The new office is modern, handicapped accessible, secure and more convenient for citizens, police and prosecutors alike.

Property Crime, Burglary and Arson Cases

1.  On the night of June 16, 2005, fire was intentionally set to First Christian Church. The fire destroyed the basement preschool area and caused approximately $300,000 in damage.  A drop of blood found at the scene by Radford Police was later DNA matched to Josh Roseberry.  On October 6, 2005, Roseberry entered a plea and was convicted of burglary and arson.  Because sentencing guidelines were terribly low, the Commonwealth did not make a plea offer and Roseberry was sentenced by a judge.  Roseberry was sentenced to 1½ years in prison and ordered to pay restitution to the insurance company.

2.  On March 10, 1999, a fire was intentionally started inside Dean's Auto Body Shop.  The intent was to burn a particular car.  Flames consumed a large portion of the building but the targeted car did not burn.   On April 1, 1999, the same car was set on fire while in the parking lot at Dean's. In the spring of 2001, the Virginia State Police brought to my attention a related automobile insurance fraud case.  The investigation lead to an inmate at the jail, Richard Chrisley, who confessed and told police he was hired (given pills) by John Draper to burn the car (twice) in an effort to collect insurance.  On June 3, 2002, John Draper entered a no contest plea and was convicted of arson, burning personal property, conspiracy and attempting to obtain money by false pretenses.  Draper was sentenced by plea agreement to 10 years with 9 years suspended.  Upon release he was placed on active probation and ordered to pay $10,000 in restitution.  In 2008, Draper was convicted of robbery in Montgomery County and given 4 years.  He was then given 2 more years in Radford for violating his probation.  In 2014, Draper would again violate probation and received 3½ more years in Radford.  With the Radford and Montgomery sentences combined, Draper will serve 8 years.  The Dean's Auto Body fires were solved by diligent police work and our community should be very proud of this result.


3.  Valarie Rasnake embezzled $214,000 from her employer over a one year period.  On October 17, 2008, she was convicted and sentenced to serve 10 years in prison.  Restitution was also court ordered as part of the plea agreement.

4.  On November 14, 2006, a few minutes past midnight, a mysterious 911 caller reported an active structure fire in Radford from a blocked cellular phone number.  The investigation quickly determined the identity of the caller who understandably became the prime suspect.  Police were able to prove the suspect was in fact the very same person responsible for purposely starting the fire.  Travis Wooten set fire to an abandoned house located on Staples Street, just behind McCarg Elementary School.  He pled guilty to burglary, arson and felony destruction of property.  Defendant was sentenced by plea agreement in June of 2007, to 25 years in prison with 20 years suspended.  After serving those 5 years, he was placed on supervised probation for 5 years.  Wooten violated probation in 2011 and received another year in prison.  On April 24, 2015, Wooten again tested the Court's patience by violating probation a second time.  The Judge appropriately gave Wooten 7 more years to serve.

5.  In 2008, First National Bank discovered Christina Dove, an employee, had stolen approximately $27,000 over two years.  The probation only plea agreement conformed to the sentencing guidelines recommendation.  Restitution was also ordered as part of probation.

6.  On January 25, 2007, the old Belle Heth Elementary School was broken into and a few things were stolen from a classroom.  Radford Police collected a piece of bubble gum from the floor.  Several months later a cold hit DNA match identified the gum as belonging to Yada Bean.  Defendant entered a guilty plea on April 24, 2009, receiving 20 years with 18 years and 10 months suspended for burglary and grand larceny.  During this time period, Bean brandished and discharged a firearm inside a dwelling in Floyd.  That charge netted him another felony conviction on March 2, 2008.  On April 24, 2009, Bean had his probation revoked and was sentenced to an additional 2 years in prison.  Bean paid Radford City Schools $3,800 in restitution for the 2007 burglary.

7.  On August 8, 2009, vandals broke into our brand new Belle Heth Elementary School just a few weeks before the grand opening.  The perpetrators ripped down overhead projectors and stacked them up near an exit.  Before any property was stolen, police intervened and arrested Andrew Black, William Price and Marshall Williams.  The three young adults had clean records but faced charges of burglary and attempted grand larceny.  After much deliberation, I reached a difficult decision as to how best to resolve these charges.  I offered each defendant the rare opportunity to avoid becoming a felon but the trade-off was misdemeanor convictions and jail.  On October 22, 2009, defendants each went to our local jail for 90 days which included Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s.  Restitution to Radford City Schools was also ordered as part of the agreement.

8.  After a string of thefts and break-ins, Ryan Grubb was identified by DNA from a drop of blood left behind at a crime scene. With a prior 1995 robbery conviction, Grubb was sentenced to serve 10 years in prison.  On June 10, 2011, defendant received 40 years with 30 years suspended and was placed on probation for 5 years upon release.  Radford City Police did a wonderful job collecting evidence and building a case utilizing a series of search warrants.

9.  At approximately 1:30 a.m., September 17, 2012, Lee Greene was shot three times while attempting to unlawfully enter the home of his ex-wife.  After hospitalization, Greene was arrested and held in jail without bond.  He was on probation already for the 2005 stabbing of Angela Greene (same ex-wife) for which he served 5 years.  On February 1, 2013, Greene was convicted of attempted burglary and sentenced by plea agreement to 3 years in prison.  Immediately after the plea Greene was also convicted and sentenced for violating his probation.  He received an additional 1 year to serve bringing his total sentence to 4 years of incarceration.  Considering Greene was shot three times and almost killed as a result of his actions, 4 more years in prison was a fair disposition welcomed by the Commonwealth and victim.

10. Constituents may wonder why I often give large prison sentences only to suspend almost all the time.  Tony Anders stole one guitar from our downtown music store in 2008, and he will demonstrate how and why my policy works.   After Anders paid $300 restitution, he was sentenced by agreement to 20 years with all time suspended except 8 months.  Upon release, Anders was placed on supervised probation for 5 years and did exceedingly poor while committing four separate probation violations over eight years.  In 2010, he was given another 60 days by the judge.  Anders was given 12 more months in 2011.  He received an additional 4 years from the court in 2014.  Finally, the judge gave Anders 5 more years of his original 20 years sentence for again violating probation in 2018.  Anders was given a small sentence to start, yet his inability to keep the peace and behave while on probation resulted in serving over 10 "extra" years.       

11.  During the time Radford college students were absent for the 2015 Christmas break, Leeshane Ramos was breaking into apartments and stealing property.  He was identified by good police work and a clever sting while Ramos was attempting to sell stolen property.  While out on bond, Ramos was arrested in Radford for DUI.  This resulted in his incarceration until court.  On December 9, 2016, a plea agreement sent Ramos to prison for 3 years and ordered restitution in the amount of $2,295 to the five victims.   Ramos would end up getting robbed at gunpoint  years later.  See robbery cases #14

12.  During a well publicized funeral, three hooligans strategically burglarized the childhood home of the departed.  Grieving family members returned after the service to find $10,000 worth of property missing.  Excellent police work by Detective Sgt. Eric Martin netted identifications, arrests and the recovery of some jewelry.  Charged in this deplorable act were Jerry Conley - age 38, Warren Collins - age 42, and Cheyenne Christensen - age 22.  Christensen, who had no prior criminal record, confessed and agreed to testify against  Collins and Conley, who each then entered a bare guilty plea to all charges.  Collins was sentenced by the court to serve 7 years and 5 months, while Conley was given 9 years and 2 months.  Christensen, a new mother, became a felon and was sentenced to 20 years with all time suspended except 3 months.  She will be on probation for 3 years and must pay joint and several restitution with her co-defendants in the amount of $11,601.  

13.  Ryan McPherson, age 28, was not happy when his 18 year-old ex-girlfriend started dating another man.  On December 19, 2019, McPherson forced his way into the victim's Radford apartment with an armed accomplice.  A handgun was brandished and the victim was physically assaulted.  On December 5, 2022, defendant entered a guilty plea to assault, burglary and use of a firearm.  He was sentenced by agreement to serve 3 years in prison. 

Assaults, weapon violations and

                          other cases of interest

1.  On October 23, 2004, Kerry McPherson accidentally fired a handgun inside a crowded basement.  Three people attending a party were stuck by a lone bullet and miraculously suffered only minor injuries.  McPherson was convicted and sentenced by plea agreement to prison for 30 years with 25 years suspended.

2.  On April 23, 2008, Fess Green was hit by a car while riding his bike on Main Street.  Ryan Sherman turned in front of Green who died as a result of his injuries.  After a thorough review of the facts, applicable laws and input from the victim’s family, I concluded reckless driving was the appropriate charge.  Sherman was tried and convicted of reckless driving.  While I strongly advocated for a jail sentence, the Court imposed a $1,500 fine instead.

3.  In April 2016, Radford University’s Pi Kappa Phi fraternity was involved in a hazing incident.  The victim pledge reported being forced to drink alcohol to excess and perform other dangerous and injurious acts including physical torture, ice baths and snorting cayenne pepper.   The four primary leaders of this hazing were charged and punished accordingly by plea agreement.  Andrew Piccione, Theodore Anna, Jesse Leasure and Evan Satterly were each convicted of hazing, fined $500 and sentenced to 30 days in jail. 

4. On October 28, 2017, Jerrad Steele broke into his ex-girlfriend's apartment carrying brass knuckles in a jealous fit of rage.  Steele engaged in threatening behavior previously and was prohibited from having contact with the victim by specific court order.  Steele was arrested and charged with numerous crimes including a dozen violations of emergency protective order.  Steele continued to call the victim even from jail despite the court order and pending charges.  I understand these emotional relationship cases are high-risk and extremely volatile.  Steele entered a guilty plea and was sent to prison for 10 years by plea agreement on April 27, 2018.

5.  Elijah Nichols, age 19, stabbed three fellow Radford University students during a college-party melee on September 28, 2017.  The argument started when Nichols was asked to leave because he had marijuana.  While being escorted outside, he pulled out a knife from his waist area and started cutting the victims.  Nichols fled the scene and discarded the knife.  However, once again excellent police work quickly identified the perpetrator.  Nichols entered a bare plea in June of 2018, to three counts of malicious wounding.  On December 17, 2018, he was sentenced by the judge to serve 10 years in prison.     

6.  In 2016, Ronald Norris Jr. participated in a home invasion robbery.  For his part, he was convicted of burglary on December 9, 2016, and sentenced to 20 years with 18 years suspended.  He was also placed on probation.  The night of August 10, 2020, Norris was seen waiving a handgun and threatening harm.  Radford City Police apprehended Norris just minutes later and recovered the firearm.  As a felon, Norris is prohibited from possessing firearms.   Norris was convicted under a plea agreement to serve the mandatory minimum 5 year sentence on May 11, 2021.  In April of 2022, he was sentenced to an additional 1 year for violating the burglary probation.   

7.  On November 10, 2019, Marquay Alston sucker-punched a young man at a college party.  The victim was struck by Alston multiple times and lost several front teeth.  The attack was video recorded on a cellphone and the image was played several times for the trial judge.  After a trial, Alston was found guilty of aggravated malicious wounding.  After leaving the scene of the assault, he then rode around Radford and fired a handgun in the air from a car.   He was convicted again after a separate trial for the shooting.  On March 7, 2022, the judge sentenced Alston on all charges and gave him 9 years and 10 months to serve.  These convictions are the result of excellent police work, especially efforts by Detective Austin Cox.  

8.   On September 8, 2021, Anthony Cook threatened to kill his wife and drove to her workplace armed with a gun.  Radford City Police responded just in time to intercept and arrest Cook seconds after he arrived on scene.  Cook, who was a felon, had a loaded gun, extra ammunition, as well as methamphetamine.  He was charged with several crimes including some firearm charges which carry a mandatory minimum.  On July 8, 2022, Cook entered a guilty plea and was sentenced by agreement to serve 7 years.    

                              Animal Abuse Cases

1.  Brian Perdue shot and killed a small dog after it urinated in his apartment.  He took the family pet and his handgun to a wooded area across the street and executed the animal.  Police charged Perdue with felony animal cruelty.  After losing the preliminary hearing because we had no confession or identifiable eyewitnesses, I personally investigated the case.  Upon locating key witnesses I directly indicted Perdue for animal cruelty.  The case became so strong a guilty plea agreement was eventually secured with a 2 year suspended prison sentence imposed on April 29, 2011.  Defendant was placed on probation for a year and became a felon.  As a felon Perdue can no longer lawfully possess a firearm for life.