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Courts and Crime

  • Internet crimes unit gets new office

    On the same day Bedford County Sheriff Mike Brown announced the opening of a new office for the region’s cyber crime task force, investigators also announced the results of a  five-month multi-jurisdictional investigation into the sharing of child pornography over the Internet.

  • Boyfriend beating case

    Judge Kenneth Farrar certified an aggravated malicious wounding charge against a Bedford County woman to the November grand jury.

        Kristina Pongracz was 28 when she was accused on May 4 of beating William Herchenrider, her 77-year-old boyfriend, with whom she lived.  Herchenrider died on August 25 after briefly returning home. According to Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Stephanie Ayers, Herchenrider was under hospice care when he came home.

  • Child porn cases involve libraries

    Last week, a Bedford man caught viewing child pornography at the  Bedford Central Public Library in February, was sentenced to spend 16 months in prison as a result of his conviction.

        According to Sergeant Terry Wright of Operation Blue Ridge Thunder, there is a reason why some people use library computers for such illegal activity. It actually makes them harder to catch than if

  • Body found at bridge

    Three people charged with killing Sean Peter Placko late this winter and dumping his body in the James River faced a preliminary hearing in Bedford County General District Court, Monday. Although the murder allegedly occurred in Augusta County, Bedford County has claimed jurisdiction because the body was found near the Snowden Bridge in Bedford County.

  • Man who viewed child porn at library sentenced

    A Bedford man caught viewing child pornography at the  Bedford Central Public Library in February will spend 16 months in prison as a result of his conviction.

        On Tuesday, Bedford County Circuit Court Judge James Updike sentenced Mark Wilson Reynolds, 46, to five years in prison with all but one year, four months of that suspended. He will have to register as a sex offender, have three years of supervised probation and not have any unsupervised contact with minors. He is also barred from using the Internet or from going to public libraries.

  • R.I. man sentenced on sex crime charges

    The father of a 13-year-old girl who disappeared for a day in February 2009 with a Rhode Island man, testified of the horror the family faced of not knowing where their daughter was for that 24-hour period. And, he said, the ramifications of that event have continued to be felt by their daughter and the family.

  • Shifflett withdraws embezzlement pleas

    A Hardy woman, accused of embezzling money from the Hardy Volunteer Fire Department, will stand trial on those charges, after all.

        Deborah Lynn Shifflett, 39, entered no contest pleas last month in Bedford County Circuit Court on 10 felony embezzlement charges, but withdrew those pleas during a hearing Friday. Her trial has now been scheduled for Jan. 18.

  • Woman could face murder charge

    Authorities are waiting for results from an autopsy report to decide if a 28-year-old Goode woman, accused of attacking her 77-year-old boyfriend, could be charged with murder following his death a week ago.

  • Nelson County jury will hear murder case against Wesley Earnest

    A Nelson County jury will decide the fate of Wesley Brian Earnest in November.

  • Forest man sentenced on sex charge

    In all likelihood, Allen Lee Ford of Forest, a decorated marine combat veteran, will spend most, if not all, of the rest of his life in jail.

        Ford, who turns 63 next month, was sentenced Friday to four years, five months in jail on one conviction of aggravated sexual battery in Bedford County Circuit Court. But he’s facing similar charges in other jurisdictions and once those are finalized, his sentence will be considerably more, according to Bedford County Commonwealth’s Attorney Randy Krantz.