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Courts and Crime

  • Thieves target churches

        Baby Jesus was missing, but arrests in his theft were imminent Tuesday afternoon.
        A crime stoppers tip had led investigators to as many as five suspects alleged to have been involved with taking figurines from a Nativity scene at a Forest church this week, according to Major Ricky Gardner of the Bedford County Sheriff’s Office. Recovery of the figurines had not occurred, however.

  • Appeals court upholds Earnest's murder conviction

    Staff Reports

    and Landmark
    News Service

        A three-judge panel of the Virginia Court of Appeals has affirmed the first-degree murder conviction of Wesley Earnest.
        Earnest, a former Bedford County teacher, was convicted in 2010 of killing his estranged wife, Jocelyn Earnest, and trying to make it look like a suicide.
        Tuesday’s decision by the three-judge panel upholds the life sentence that Earnest received for the crime which occurred at the couple's Forest home.

  • Plattus pleads no contest to misdemeanor embezzlement

        Dan Plattus pleaded no contest, last week in Bedford County Circuit Court, to a misdemeanor embezzlement charge, the result of his unauthorized use of a Bedford Main Street credit card for personal use.

        The plea was the result of an agreement. A no contest plea means that a defendant does not admit guilt, but agrees that there is enough evidence to convict him.

  • Caldwell sentenced to 22 years for shooting brother, nephew

        Dennis Caldwell, 56, will spend 22 years in prison for shooting his brother, Glenn Caldwell, 62, and his nephew, Michael Caldwell, 36.
        Dennis Caldwell had entered a no contest plea, on Aug. 15, to two counts of aggravated malicious wounding and two counts of using a firearm in the commission of a felony. The plea was entered one year to the day of the shootings. He had shot both men multiple times with a .45 cal. semiautomatic pistol.

  • Former youth leader arrested

        A former local youth leader at a Forest church is facing a felony count for the unlawfully filming of a minor.
        Auri Christopher Collin Jones, 28, of Lynchburg was arrested Wednesday on one felony count of unlawful filming, videotaping or photographing of a minor. On Thursday, Jones was arrested on a misdemeanor count of the same charge, related to filming someone over the age of 18.

  • Caldwell sentenced

    Dennis Caldwell, 56, will spend 22 years in prison for shooting his brother, Glenn Caldwell, 62, and his nephew, Michael Caldwell, 36. Dennis Caldwell had entered a no contest plea, on Aug. 15, to two counts of aggravated malicious wounding and two counts of using a firearm in the commission of a felony. The plea was entered one year to the day of the shootings. He had shot both men multiple times with a .45 cal. semiautomatic pistol.

  • A case of mistaken identity

        The Evington man arrested last week for allegedly approaching a girl at a school bus stop has been released by the Bedford County Sheriff’s Office after further investigation revealed he wasn’t the man who talked with the girl.
        It was a case of mistaken identity, according to the Sheriff’s Office.
        A different man was identified as the one who actually approached the girl and he isn’t facing any charges, according to Major Ricky Gardner of the BCSO.

  • Man guilty of having child porn

        A Bedford County jury has recommended that a 44-year-old Moneta man spend 10 years in prison, after finding him guilty of 36 counts of possessing child pornography.

        Last Wednesday, the jury recommended the sentence for Ricky Thurston Martin Sr. Sentencing will take place following the preparation of a presentence report and sex offender evaluation.

  • Vandals destroy election signs

        “We just lost our fourth election sign,” said Ann Duncan, chairman of the Bedford City Democratic Committee. Duncan spoke in a phone interview Thursday about vandalism to the previous signs.
        The signs were on private property. Three of them, one being a replacement for a previously vandalized sign, were along U. S. 460 and a fourth was along Independence Boulevard in Bedford. These were four-by-four-foot signs that Duncan said cost $13 each.

  • Scam suspect caught

        The man believed to have scammed residents from the Midwest to Bedford County is no longer on the run.

        But last week, the BCSO reported Foster had been picked up by the U.S. Marshall’s Service in Nashville, Tenn.