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Courts and Crime

  • On trial — again

    There’s a different courtroom, but the parties involved in the murder trial of Wesley Earnest are the same: Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Wes Nance is heading up the prosecution; Joseph Sanzone the defense; and Judge James Updike is applying the needed interpretations of the law to the trial as it unfolds.

  • Prosecution tries again to convict Earnest of murder

    The second murder trial against Wesley Brian Earnest began Monday.
        First up in the retrial of Earnest—who was granted a mistrial this summer after being found guilty of murdering his wife at a two-week trial in April—will be the presentation of any pre-trial motions as well as seating the jury that will hear the case.

        A Nelson County jury will decide the fate of Earnest, with the trial itself being held in Amherst County Circuit Court.

  • First degree murder charge moves ahead

    A first degree murder charge against a 28-year-old Waynesboro man, accused of killing his uncle and dumping the body in the James River, has been certified to the December grand jury in Bedford.

  • No jail time in dog sale case

    A North Carolina man is now a convicted felon due to an attempt to sell five American Pit Bull Terriers in Bedford County. But he won’t serve any jail time as a result of that conviction.

  • Convictions yield 10-year sentence

    A discussion of a state statute cropped up once again during John Edward Pressley’s sentencing hearing in Bedford County Circuit Court, Friday. The 25-year-old Martinsville man entered four no contest pleas to computer solicitation of a child less than 15 years old at a hearing in August. The charges stemmed from conversations Pressley had on the computer between May 6, 2009, and June 3, 2009, with a Bedford County Sheriff’s Office undercover officer that Pressley believed was a 13-year-old girl.

  • Area residents, advocates gather on behalf of domestic violence victims

    More than 100 people gathered around the Centertown clock late Thursday afternoon to draw attention to domestic violence and its victims.

        The group walked down Bridge Street to a granite bench, dedicated to the memory of Sherrie Conner, located across Bedford Avenue from the Bower Center. Conner, who had worked for Bedford County’s Department of Social Services for 20 years, was killed three years ago, the result of a domestic dispute that turned fatal.

  • Three dogs returned to owner

    A Thaxton man whose doublewide was once home to 90 cats and dogs will get three of his animals back.

  • 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