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Courts and Crime

  • Grand jury indicts woman for murder

    Kristina Pongracz is now facing a first degree murder charge.
        On Tuesday, a Bedford County grand jury indicted the 29-year-old Goode woman on the murder charge in connection with the death of her 77-year-old boyfriend, William Herchenrider, last year.

  • Witt’s bond revoked

    Although sentencing for former Staunton River High School teacher and football coach Richard Isaac Witt was postponed Tuesday, he left Bedford County Circuit Court en route to the Blue Ridge Regional Jail.

  • Man robs Apple Market in Bedford at gunpoint

     a black male who robbed the Apple Market convenience store at 407 N. Bridge St. in Bedford Wednesday night.

        The robbery occurred around 9 p.m., according to Bedford Police Chief Jim Day. He described the suspect as a black male, about 6 feet tall with a medium build. He was wearing dark clothing, gloves and a stocking cap that covered his face. Day said eye holes had been cut out of the stocking cap.

  • Death ruled a homicide

    A 29-year-old Goode woman, accused of attacking her 77-year-old boyfriend last May at his home, could soon be facing a murder charge.

        Following the recent release of the medical examiner’s report ruling the death of William Herchenrider in August as a homicide, Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Stephanie Ayers said she plans to present an upgraded murder charge against Kristina Pongracz for the March grand jury to consider.

  • Newman responds to Soering lawsuit

    Jens Soering isn’t quite ready to give up on being transferred from Virginia to a German prison.

        Soering, who was convicted for the 1985 stabbing deaths of Derek and Nancy Haysom in Bedford County, has filed a lawsuit against  Gov. Bob McDonnell over his refusal to transfer Soering to a German prison. Before he left office, former Gov. Tim Kaine had granted Soering’s request for a transfer.

  • Earnest receives life sentence

    There weren’t any real surprises, but the importance of Tuesday morning’s sentencing hearing in Amherst County Circuit Court wasn’t lost on anyone there.

        Life in prison — plus three years.

  • Man pleads guilty to abduction

    A Bedford man pleaded guilty Tuesday morning in Bedford County Circuit Court, to two felony abduction charges.

        According to Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney John Wheelock, John Charles Lavra, 52, went to the home of a Bedford County woman on August 5 and prevented the woman and her daughter from leaving the premises for several hours.

  • Shifflett back in court

    Deborah Shifflett’s defense attorney withdrew a subpoena for documents related to her embezzlement case after conceding that those documents don’t exist.

        Webster Hogeland, defense attorney for Shifflett, and Commonwealth’s Attorney Randy Krantz argued the issue during a motions hearing in Bedford County Circuit Court, Tuesday morning.

  • Bedford man faces child porn charges

    A Bedford County man,  arrested and charged on December 23 for aggravated sexual battery of a minor child,  now faces additional charges for the manufacturing of child pornography and charges of possessing child pornography and reproduction of child pornography.

  • Defendant in animal hoarding case to receive mental evaluation

        The 63-year-old Thaxton man accused of hoarding more than 100 cats and dogs at his home will undergo a competency evaluation before standing trial on 10 misdemeanor animal cruelty charges.

        Ronald Lee Snellings Sr. was charged in November as the result of an investigation that led to deputies with the Bedford County Sheriff’s Office and animal rights volunteers removing the animals from his home. At the time, investigators called the incident the worst cases of “animal hoarding” they had ever seen.