Gun, al­co­hol, speed­ing cases in court

Rappahannock News - - FRONT PAGE - By Patty Hardee Spe­cial to the Rap­pa­han­nock News

Two Ch­ester Gap res­i­dents were ar­raigned in Rap­pa­han­nock County Dis­trict Court Tues­day (Sept. 20) on charges of reck­less han­dling of a firearm.

Re­spond­ing to a com­plaint of gun­shots and wound­ing from a Ch­ester Gap res­i­dent on Aug. 27, Rap­pa­han­nock County Sher­iff’s Deputy Cody Dod­son found Sa­muel Dar­nell Wil­son and Christina Hutch­er­son, do­ing tar­get prac­tice in their yard.

Ac­cord­ing to Dod­son’s com­plaint, Wil­son, 38, was teach­ing Hutch­er­son, 28, how to shoot his pis­tol. The two were us­ing a piece of ply­wood against a pile of fire­wood for tar­get prac­tice, but shoot­ing in the di­rec­tion of houses. Ap­par­ently, a shot went astray and hit the neigh­bor in the leg, leav­ing a red mark. Wil­son did not re­al­ize his neigh­bor had been shot.

Judge Peter Thomas Hansen or­dered them to be tried to­gether, but as­signed them each a sep­a­rate pub­lic de­fender. The case is con­tin­ued

to Nov. 15.

Paul B. Ste­wart of Culpeper, pleaded guilty to a first in­stance of DWI with a blood al­co­hol level greater than .20 per­cent. Hansen sen­tenced him to 90 days in jail, but sus­pended 88 days, but warned Ste­wart, “You must re­port sober and free of in­tox­i­cants. Some­times friends and fam­ily mem­bers want to see some­one off ‘in style,’ ’’ said Hansen. He ex­plained that to re­port to jail hav­ing taken al­co­hol or drugs would be vi­o­la­tion of the terms and con­di­tions of his plea agree­ment.

Ste­wart was also sen­tenced to one year of su­per­vised pro­ba­tion and his li­cense was sus­pended for a year. He may ap­ply for re­stricted li­cense for cer­tain limited uses, must have an ig­ni­tion in­ter­lock de­vice in­stalled on his ve­hi­cle and must com­plete the state’s al­co­hol aware­ness pro­gram, VASAP.

SPEEDER LOSES AP­PEAL IN JURY TRIAL

An­drew John Kratly, 38, of Reva, was found guilty of speed­ing after a jury trial in Rap­pa­han­nock County Cir­cuit Court last Tues­day (Sept. 20). On March 26, Kratly was stopped and charged with driv­ing his mo­tor­cy­cle at 70 mph in a 55 mph zone. (In dis­trict court April 19, he pleaded not guilty but was found guilty by the court. He sub­se­quently ap­pealed the rul­ing and re­quested a jury trial.)

The morn­ing of the trial, Kratly, who had de­cided to forego an at­tor­ney and de­fend him­self, moved to dis­miss the charge.

“Do you have a writ­ten mo­tion?” Judge Her­man A. Whisenant asked. “The mo­tion can’t be made orally. The pur­pose is to give the court and other at­tor­neys the rea­sons for the mo­tion. Other­wise I have no ba­sis for [dis­missal].”

At that, Kratly, with 19 po­ten­tial sub­poe­naed jurors wait­ing in a hold­ing room, told the court he would just pay the ticket. Whisenant ex­plained that if Kratly con­ceded now, he would have to pay court costs, in­clud­ing the cost of the jury, “be­cause you had the jury brought in and caused them to miss work.” He said Kratly would also have to pay for the jury if he lost his ap­peal. Kratly then de­cided, “I may as well go through with it.”

A jury was se­lected and sworn in. After open­ing state­ments, Com­mon­wealth’s At­tor­ney Art Goff called Vir­ginia State Po­lice Trooper S. J. Rid­dle as a wit­ness. Rid­dle tes­ti­fied to clock­ing Kratly on U.S. 211 at 70 mph head­ing west­bound near Rich­mond Road. Kratly was rid­ing his mo­tor­cy­cle at the lead of sev­eral other rid­ers. Rid­dle told the court that he fol­lowed Kratly, ex­pect­ing him to pull over at the park­ing area at Massies Cor­ner. In­stead, he said, Kratly went past Massies Cor­ner and stopped some dis­tance be­yond.

Kratly later tes­ti­fied that he thought Rid­dle was after an­other biker who had passed Kratly. He also claimed not to know the speed limit on the high­way, de­spite liv­ing in area.

In just over an hour, the jury found Kratly guilty. He was or­dered to pay a $150 fine for the of­fense and $621 in court costs.

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