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Burgess tied to Nokesville arson

Fire investigators in Prince William County arrested a suspect in an arson that occurred this summer in Nokesville. 

From Prince William fire and rescue spokeswoman Kim Hylander: 

On August 31, 2016, a barn fire occurred in the14300 block of Fauquier Drive in Nokesville, Virginia. An investigation conducted by the Prince William County Fire Marshal’s Office revealed the fire had been intentionally set resulting in the total loss to the structure and surrounding equipment. A suspect was developed through the investigation and an arrest was made.

Arrested on December 15th:
James Dustin BURGESS, 19 years old, of 13412 Vint Hill Rd., Nokesville, VA
Charged with

§18.2–80 Burning or destroying of a building or other structure. (Class 3 Felony),

§18.2–80 Burning or destroying of a building or other structure. (Class 3 Felony),§18.2-137 Intentional destruction of private property over $1,000.00. (Class 6 Felony.)

§18.2-137 Intentional destruction of private property over $1,000.00. (Class 6 Felony.)

On December 14, Burgess was one of four people charged in a home invasion on Bristow Road. 

We’re working to get more information about the fire on August 31, and what connection — if any — it has to the home invasion.

Updated

A barn and farm equipment was torched in the August 31 arson incident, according to Asst. Chief Matt Smolsky, with Prince Wiliam fire and rescue.

The arson is unrelated to the home invasion in which Burgess is also charged.

News
Occoquan VFW lays “Wreaths Across America” at Quantico

Submitted by Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 7916 in Occoquan: 

On December 17, 2016, Quantico National Cemetery hosted “Wreaths Across America,” a holiday wreath-laying ceremony to honor and remember our nation’s Veterans. With the wreath laying scheduled to begin at 9:00 AM Saturday morning, a handful of veterans and patriots braved the cold, freezing rain to begin.

We have all seen, and have been awestruck by, the somber sight of hundreds or thousands of precisely aligned rows of stark headstones at one or another of our Veterans cemeteries. But seeing the awe-inspiring images of hundreds — thousands — of beautiful, red-ribbon-adorned, fresh, green wreaths gracing the graves of our fallen heroes is humbling.

Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 7916, from Occoquan, VA, led the way. One of the first to arrive at the cemetery VFW Post 7916 Commander, Chuck Wilson, Colonel, USAF, Ret, began laying wreaths at on some the headstones at Quantico National Cemetery. Wilson is also Chairman of the Potomac Region Veterans Council made up of 26 Veterans Service Organizations and represents as many as 15,000 veterans in Northern Virginia.

As the temperature slightly rose and road conditions improved, a steady stream of automobiles carrying carloads of veterans and patriots arrived at Quantico National Cemetery.

At approximately 12:00 PM, the memorial ceremony began. The Marine Color Guard posted the Colors. Representatives from the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, and Merchant Marines laid wreaths to honor the fallen, as well as Prisoners of War and those still Missing in Action (POW/MIA).

An estimated 2,500 great Americans came for this event. The line of cars was backed up to I-95 to get in to the cemetery. Well over 8,000 wreaths were laid to honor our veterans at Quantico National Cemetery

“Wreaths Across America,” began donating holiday wreaths in tribute to Veterans laid to rest at VA’s national cemeteries and state Veterans cemeteries in 2006.

News
Update: Third murder suspect arrested, tied to May slaying

From police: 

Murder Investigation *ARREST – On December 12, detectives from the Homicide Unit received information which ultimately led to the identification of three suspects involved in the murder of Jason Thomas Mannion which occurred at a residence in the 9500 block of Hensley Rd in Manassas on May 12.

The preliminary investigation into the incident alleged that two of the suspects, identified as Marquan Antonio BROWN and Jhaire Nathaniel MONTGOMERY, attempted to rob the victim inside the home. During the encounter, the victim was shot and later died. A third suspect, identified as Rhebekah Alexis PATTERSON, was also determined to have participated in the incident. All parties were known to one another.

Following the investigation, detectives obtained warrants for the arrest of these suspects. The BROWN suspect is currently incarcerated in Culpeper County on unrelated charges. The MONTGOMERY suspect was located and arrested in Culpeper County on December 15 without incident. The remaining suspect, PATTERSON, has not been apprehended and is currently being sought by police.

Arrested/Charged on December 15: [No photos available]

                Marquan Antonio BROWN, 25, of no fixed address

Jhaire Nathaniel MONTGOMERY, 19, of 22098 Highland Rd in Culpeper

Both suspects were charged with murder and use of a firearm in commission of a felony

Court Date: February 6, 2017 | Bond: Held WITHOUT Bond

 

Wanted: [Photo from October 2014]

Rhebekah Alexis PATTERSON, 29, of 15467 Retriever Rd in Culpeper

Described as a white female, 5’6”, 160lbs with brown hair and brown eyes

Wanted for principal in the second degree to murder

Updated 

From police: 

Murder Investigation *ARREST Rhebekah Alexis PATTERSON, who was wanted in connection to the May 12 murder of Jason Thomas MANNION, was taken into custody in the Charlottesville, VA area on December 19 without incident.

News
An icy start to Saturday as crashes snarl traffic

Ice blankets the ground, sidewalks, and streets this morning.

We’ve seen cars in ditches, and we’ve got reports like this one about a major crash and closure of a portion of Interstate 95 in Spotsylvania County:

Interstate 95 northbound is closed in Spotsylvania County near Exit 118/Thornburg for a multi-vehicle crash involving multiple tractor trailers.

Northbound I-95 traffic is being detoured from the interstate at Exit 118, where motorists can take Route 606 (Mudd Tavern Road) westbound to Route 1 northbound. Motorists can re-enter I-95 northbound from Route 1 at Exit 126/Spotsylvania.

Tweet us your icy photos @PotomacLocal

Here’s the forecast: 

 

The ice has also slowed down the Marines: 

 

Traffic
No action on VRE Board pauses VRE extension project

WOODBRIDGE, Va. — Despite the majority of the Virginia Railway Express Board leaning toward killing a proposed commuter rail extension to Haymarket, Chairman Gary Skinner decided not to take a vote on the matter.

Skinner instead took an informal poll of Board members Friday morning on whether to continue studying an 11-mile expansion of VRE service from Manassas to Gainesville and Haymarket or to adopt an alternative by relocating the railroad’s Broad Run station about a mile east, closer to Manassas City.

“You can take back to your Board tell them the majority of the [VRE Operations] Board sits on the Broad Run extension,” Skinner told fellow Board member and Prince William County Supervisor Marty Nohe.

Nohe said he spoke for his Board, the Prince William Board of Supervisors who say they need more time to review what development could someday be built in the areas of Innovation Park outside Manassas, in Gainesville, and Haymarket.

Relocating the Broad Run Station would increase ridership. But an extension to Gainesville could increase economic development opportunities in Prince William County.

“Should we relocate Broad Run? This is not the only question we on the Board of Supervisors are going to ask,” said Nohe. “It’s been suggested that an extension to Innovation [Park] or Haymarket or Gainesville would have, on balance, a bigger impact on county’s econmic development, and that is a factor we need to take into consideration.”

The Broad Run relocation alternative, recommended by VRE staff and placed on today’s Operations Board agenda for a vote, would move the station at the Manassas Regional Airport to the area near Godwin Drive and Route 28.

The old station and its parking lot would be replaced by an expanded rail storage yard, which would allow VRE to park and operate 22 trains on the Manassas line — up from the today’s 16-train operation.

If VRE is extended to Gainesville, but not Haymarket, the Broad Run Station would remain in its current location. A new rail storage yard could be built near Innovation Park. Doing both — relocating Broad Run and extending VRE to Gainesville — is not expected to grow ridership.

“Building new stations doesn’t grow ridership. Running more trains does because you open up more seats and attract new riders,” added Nohe.

Nohe hopes the Prince William County Board of Supervisors will weigh its options and make a decision by early January, in time for the next VRE Operations Board meeting.

Putting more trains on the Manassas line will open up seats for commuters in Fairfax County whom today may choose not to use VRE because trains are full by the time they at the Burke Station.

“In Fairfax, we’re built out and we’re ready to go. The train is leaving the station, and we need to make a decision now,” said John Cook, a Fairfax County Supervisor who serves on the VRE Board.

A VRE study found that an extension to Gainesville or Haymarket would not attract as many riders between now and 2040 as originally anticipated. Extending VRE to Haymarket could cost as much as 4660, million, about $40,000 per new rider. The project would not be eligible for federal funding as transit officials had hoped.

“We don’t believe, given the numbers, that we have the extension would be eligible for federal funding, and that was a key assumption of our plan,” said VRE’s Christine Hoffner, who is leading the Gainesville-Haymarket Extension Study.

News
United Bank robbed twice in 3 months: ‘This money is not worth our lives’

DUMFRIES, Va. — The robbers went inside the bank and put a gun to the manager’s forehead.

The United Bank branch just outside Dumfries has been robbed at gunpoint twice in the past nearly three months. On Wednesday, two men walked into the lobby of the bank on Route 1 about 2 p.m, pulled out handguns, and demanded cash.

“We saw them coming to toward the door, and I said to myself, oh my god, we’re going to be robbed,” said branch manager Nena Aninye, who took over the top job at the branch in March.

Before the entered the bank, Aninye and another teller looked out the drive-through window and saw the two men running toward the bank out from behind a nearby shopping center.

Once inside, one of the men put a gun to Aninye’s head and demanded cash. She handed it over, the two men stuffed it into the pockets and fled the scene.

“I couldn’t look at his face, I could only look at the gun,” Aninye said while describing the robbery.

No one was hurt, and the FBI is now offering a $1,000 reward for information that leads to a conviction in the case. An armed guard stood post by the front door of the lobby on Friday.

“This money is not worth our lives,” said a shaken Aninye of her and her employees.

This is the third time in the 20 years Aninye has worked in the banking industry that she has been robbed. It’s especially disturbing that it has happened to her twice at the same location in the past 60 days, she added.

At least three bank employees were inside the bank at the time of the robbery. Glass does not separate customers from tellers working behind a counter.

Potomac Local holds an account with United Bank and conducts business at this branch.

At 3:30 p.m. on Oct. 6, a man walked into the bank, displayed a gun, and made off with an undisclosed amount of cash. No arrests have been made in either case.

News
New bins to toss recyclables in Prince William County

Submitted:

New recycling trailers are being deployed throughout Prince William County. The new trailers are more visible, have more capacity, accept additional material and include clear guidelines and restrictions to help users determine what items should be placed in the container. The instructions are provided in English and Spanish infographics for the convenience of all users.

The Prince William County Solid Waste Division operates 16 Recycling Trailer Drop Off located throughout Prince William County. As of mid-November, five new Pro-Tilt recycling trailers have been placed into service. Residents can look for the new blue trailers at the following locations:

— Dale City Boys and Girls Club

— Exxon at the Glen

— Minnieville Commuter Lot

–Nokesville Park

— Dr. A.J. Ferlazzo Building

Replacement of the old trailers, which were purchased in the 2002-2003 timeframe, will be phased in based on the maintenance schedule. It is anticipated that all the old trailers will be replaced with the new Pro-Tilt model by fall 2017.

Prince William residents will be able to place the same recyclable materials into the new Pro-Tilt recycling trailers as they did in the old trailers. This includes: cans, plastic food and beverage containers, cartons, aluminum, glass bottles and jars, newspaper, office paper and junk mail, magazines and catalogs, paper bags and paperboard. These items are depicted in English and Spanish infographics for the convenience of all users.

The new trailers, which have 80 percent more capacity than the old ones, can now accommodate flattened cardboard boxes up to 2 feet by 2 feet in size.  This is an added improvement that provides convenience to residents. Another convenience, when using the new trailers, residents do not need to separate their recyclables by material type. This is known as “single stream” recycling. The materials can be placed into the trailer by the most convenient door with space to accommodate material. It is very important, however, that users place the items loose (no plastic bags) into the container. Recycling trailer users will see a sticker that notes “No Plastic Bags” are allowed in the recycling trailer. Plastic bags, even those that may have been used to collect and carry recyclable materials, should be taken to grocery stores or other retailers that have plastic bag recycling collection bins. Residents should also be mindful to close the Pro-Tilt trailer door after use.

Another important detail, the old trailers are “dual stream” collection, so paper and containers are kept separate, and residents should place materials into the trailer using the appropriate door. Residents must also continue to bring large cardboard boxes to the Prince William County Landfill or Balls Road Compost Facility to be recycled. These locations have containers that can accommodate larger cardboard boxes.

News
Dr. Martin Luther King Youth Oratorical Contest is Monday, January 16

Norman Jones HS Winner 2015 0341-IMG_0538
MLK 2015 Contestants 0833-IMG_6860

Submitted: 

The Prince William County Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. will host its 27th annual Dr. Martin Luther King Youth Oratorical Contest on Monday, January 16 at 11 a.m. at the Hylton Memorial Chapel, 14640 Potomac Mills Road, Woodbridge.

Middle school and high school students from throughout the Prince William area will display oratorical skills and children of all ages will sing songs of celebration in the Martin Luther King Community Choir.

This free event is one of the oldest and largest celebrations of Dr. King’s legacy in the Washington metro area. At least 2,000 people are expected to attend to see Prince William County, Manassas and Manassas Park students perform.

In addition to listening to speeches and cheering on this year’s contestants and community choir, attendees can participate in the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service by donating non-perishable food items, winter coats and children’s books for distribution to Prince William area community service organizations.

Prince William County Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. members Sheila Bryant and Sandra Mitchell lead this program for the sorority

This event is also generously supported by the Cecil and Irene Hylton Foundation, the school districts and education foundations of Prince William County Public Schools, Manassas City Public Schools, Manassas Park City Public Schools, and many churches, community organizations and private donors. For more information, visit www.pwcacdst.org.

Wittman, Prince William Republicans donate supplies for Woodbridge homeless

As another cold winter approaches, the Prince William County Republican Committee and Congressman Rob Wittman (VA-01) collected and donated cold-weather supplies for the homeless in Woodbridge this week. On Wednesday, the Committee donated a dozen large bags of clothes, coats and blankets, as well as six large propane tanks, to Streetlight Ministries, a charity that serves the unsheltered homeless in Prince William County. This end-of-the-year service project concludes the 2016 Prince William County GOP Community Service Initiative that included ten service projects throughout the year.

The Prince William Republican Committee has served the community through projects like this collection for several years. During the last three years, the Committee has engaged in approximately ten service opportunities per year. Service projects have included projects like: a fashion show to benefit the B.A.R.N Transitional Housing charity in Bristow, led by the Bull Run Republican Women’s Club; a back-to-school supply drive for schools with high populations of economically disadvantaged students; and a meal for residents of the ACTS Homeless Shelter in Dumfries, just to name a few. Any Prince William County resident, regardless of political affiliation, can participate in the Republican’s community service activities by contacting the Committee at 703-680-7388.

Streetlight Ministries works with the poor and homeless in Prince William County to secure emergency housing, employment, and eventually a long-term housing solution. They also work with local civic groups and faith-based organizations to serve a meal to homeless Prince William residents every Wednesday evening. To learn more about Streetlight, go to: www.thestreetlight.org.

News
Suspected Bristow home invaders leave, return to find police

Burgess, James
Riley, Sean
Holbrook, Christopher
Wilson, Eric

From Prince William police: 

Burglary while Armed | Narcotics Investigation On December 14 at 8:04AM, officers responded to a residence located in the 12500 block of Bristow Rd in Nokesville (20181) to investigate a home invasion. The residents of the home reported to police that two unknown men forcibly entered the residence through a basement door. After being confronted, the suspects fled the home and got into a vehicle. While officers were investigating, the suspects returned to the home and were detained without further incident. All parties were known to one another. Following the investigation, detectives from the Robbery Unit charged two adults, identified as James Dustin BURGESS and Sean Matthew RILEY, in connection to the home invasion. During a prior check of the residence by officers, evidence of narcotics distribution was located. Detectives from the Narcotics Unit also responded and subsequently executed a search warrant at the home. As a result of the search, marijuana, prescription medication, and other paraphernalia were seized. In addition to the previous arrests, two adult occupants of the residence, identified as Christopher Allen HOLBROOK and Eric Thomas WILSON, were arrested in connection to narcotics investigation. Additional charges in that investigation are pending against two juveniles who also reside at the home.

Arrested on December 14:

James Dustin BURGESS, 19, of 13412 Fitzwater Dr in Nokesville

Sean Matthew RILEY, 19, of 13308 Nokesville Rd in Nokesville

Both suspects above were charged with 1 count of robbery, 1 count of burglary, and 2 counts of conspiracy to commit a felony

Court Date: February 10, 2017 | Bond: Unavailable

Christopher Allen HOLBROOK, 48, of 12574 Bristow Rd in Nokesville

Charged with 2 counts of possession of a scheduled I or II narcotic

Court Date: Pending | Bond: Unavailable

Eric Thomas WILSON, 19, of 12574 Bristow Rd in Nokesville

Charged with possession with intent to distribute marijuana

Court Date: February 9, 2017 | Bond: Unavailable

News
United Bank in Dumfries robbed, FBI offers $5,000 reward

From Prince William police: 

Bank Robbery – On December 14 at 1:57PM, officers responded to the United Bank located at 17054 Jefferson Davis Hwy in Dumfries (22026) to investigate a robbery. Employee of the bank reported to police that two unknown, masked men entered the bank and immediately approached the teller counter. Once there, the men brandished handguns and demanded money. The suspects took an undisclosed amount of money before fleeing on foot. No injuries were reported. A police K-9 searched for the suspects who were no located.

Suspect Descriptions:

Black male, unknown age, 5’9”, 170lbs with a thin build

Last seen wearing a yellow hooded jacket with dark sleeves, dark jeans, and ski mask

Black male, unknown age, 5’9”, 185lbs with a medium build

Last seen wearing a dark colored jacket, dark colored jeans, and a ski mask

Today, the FBI said the agency was offering a $5,000 reward for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the robber. 

 

News
Service Authority fortifies elevated 10-inch sewer main over Marumsco Creek

From the Prince William Service Authority: 

As [Prince William] County began to restore a section of Marumsco Creek near East Longview Drive in Woodbridge, the Service Authority took the opportunity to better fortify an elevated 10-inch sewer main that crosses the stream.

Because of continuing soil erosion and storm water runoff from the Route 1 area, the exposed section of sewer main was at risk of being compromised during a large storm event. As the stream banks were being restored, it necessitated lengthening the beam that supported the sewer main. Service Authority crews accomplished this by attaching a new beam on top of the old one that extended 15 additional feet on either side of the stream.

The two-week project was completed in early November with the County expecting to complete its stream restoration project in the coming weeks.

The Service Authority had already taken steps to protect the same infrastructure along the creek in 2012. Over time, a manhole near the elevated sewer line had been exposed by runoff from surrounding properties and rising creek flows during large storm events. To help remedy the issue, the Service Authority placed jersey walls in close proximity to the elevated sewer main in order to better protect the manhole and sewer line.

In spring 2017, the County will embark on another stream restoration project at Dewey’s Creek in Dumfries that will have a positive impact on both a Service Authority sewer line as well as a nearby sewer lift station situated close to Route 1.

A storm water detention pond is currently releasing water through a culvert underneath Wayside Drive into Dewey’s Creek. Over the last five years, flow from the pond has eroded the hillsides enough to potentially expose a Service Authority gravity sewer main that runs just above a small waterfall that feeds into the creek.

As a result, the County will install a pipe that will funnel the water at a more moderate angle into the stream and then backfill the waterfall area. As part of the project, the County will also realign the stream away from a manhole that sits only a few feet from the current edge of the creek. The manhole is located behind a Service Authority sewer lift station that helps pump sewage to the H.L. Mooney Advanced Water Reclamation Facility in Woodbridge.

Grand Marshal, Woman of the Year honored at Manassas Christmas Parade

gregory
perkins

This year. the 71st Annual Manassas Christmas Parade on December 2 featured two outstanding citizens as its Parade Grand Marshal and Woman of the Year. John O. Gregory, veteran, accomplished businessman and pillar of the community, will serve as the parade’s Grand Marshal. Robin Perkins, who served as treasurer for the City of Manassas for over 18 years is this year’s Woman of the Year. Both are longtime Manassas residents who are passionate about giving back to their communities.

Grand Marshal John O. Gregory

Lifelong Manassas resident John O. Gregory has dedicated himself to his community and his country well over his lifetime. He served in both the U.S. Coast Guard and the U.S. Navy and is a veteran of World War II. He also served as Commander for the Veterans of Foreign Wars for 6 terms.

Gregory literally helped build the community in Manassas as founder of Gregory Construction Company, a design-build firm. He designed and built over 2000 community projects, including elementary and high schools, churches and religious buildings. He was one of the founders of Prince William Hospital and served on its Board of Directors for many years. He also co-founded and served as Chairman of the Board of Directors for a local bank, Security Bank, which is now part of BB&T Banking System.

Former President George H.W. Bush invited Gregory to the White House in 1988 and remarked, “You are the perfect example of the “1000 Points of Light” for your volunteer service.” Gregory has supported many volunteer causes through the Lions Clubs International, including serving as International Director for Lions Clubs for 3 years. He was recognized for his good works when he received the Melvin Jones Award for Service and the Ambassador of Good Will.

Gregory also raised his family in Manassas and now has two granddaughters and one grandson. His grandchildren frequently accompany him to his lifelong church, Bethel Lutheran Church in Manassas.

Woman of the Year Robin Perkins

Robin Perkins has made a career of giving back. She started as a volunteer for the Treasurer’s Office a few days a week. She was first elected treasurer for the City of Manassas back in 1997 when tax records were kept on a binary card system. Perkins helped create the original tax database for residents. Her career was spent handling the City of Manassas’ investment portfolio, collecting taxes and paying invoices. She was a public servant for over 35 years, having been re-elected 4 times before retiring.

A Manassas local, Perkins raised her family here after graduating from Osbourn High School. Although her career as a civil servant came to a close, she’s not done being active in her community. This mom of two and grandmother of three enjoys giving back to her community as a scout leader, youth bowling director, volunteer for Manassas City Schools and scouting cookie mom. She also serves on the board of the Manassas Rotary Club.

For more information on the parade, visit www.gmchristmasparade.org.

News
Sherwood guilty of 1st Degree Murder, threw ‘tantrum’ when killed wife

PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY, Va. — John Sherwood was convicted of first-degree murder in the Jan. 1, 2015 stabbing death of his 21-year-old wife Erica, at a home in Dale City.

It took a jury 46 minutes to render a guilty verdict for prosecutors Rick Conway and Brian Boyle who pushed for the first-degree murder penalty, the strictest allowable by law. Defense attorney Jennifer Zary tried to convince jurors the murder of Erica Sherwood was not premeditated, and that there was an absence of malice in the killing, and that her client deserved an involuntary manslaughter conviction.

Sherwood tried to strike a plea deal for a 2nd-degree murder conviction, but prosecutors weren’t having it and decided to take the case to trial. Sherwood leaves behind a three-year-old son whom she shared with her killer.

Much of the second day of the trial on Tuesday focused on a photo of a penis John Sherwood said he found on a cell phone being used by his estranged wife. The phone belonged to Erica Sherwood’s friend, Sharae Harris, who lived in the house Sherwood was murdered on Concord Drive in Dale City. Erica Sherwood and her then 17-month-old son had been staying with Harris for two days leading up to the New Year’s holiday in late 2014.

Harris testified the photo was sent to her cell phone 14 days before Sherwood was killed, and that the photo was meant for her, not Erica Sherwood. Prosecutors said Sherwood had lost her phone and was using Harris’ to make phone calls and send text messages while she was staying with Harris, whom she had known since childhood.

After showing up unannounced at Harris’ house New Year’s Eve to reconcile with his wife, John Sherwood saw his wife plug Harris’ phone into a kitchen outlet to recharge, rifled through the phone’s text messages, and found the photo.

“I kirked out. I flipped shit, ” Sherwood testified. He apologized to Erica Sherwood’s grieving family members in the courtroom.

Sherwood told the court he suspected for weeks that his wife had been charting on him. In a jealous rage in the early hours of New Year’s Day 2015, the murderer went to the kitchen, grabbed a knife, and then attacked his wife. He chased her and Harris into a bathroom, and then stabbed his wife seven times, and slashed her 44 times. She used her hands to try to defend herself.

One the stab wounds was to the heart. Medical Examiner Dr. Mehi Koolae testified on Monday that it as the fatal wound.

“She betrayed me. I had a tantrum…it was like a child taking a toy from another and then the other one taking it back. It’s the same thing,” pleaded Sherwood. “Yes, I wanted to hurt her, but I did not want to kill her.”

Sherwood said he suspected his wife of cheating with another man, and that she had been communicating with him on Facebook, Sherwood testified. He also saw his wife and child in the man car before the murder, he told the court.

In a Facebook message, Sherwood told the man to stop seeing his wife, but he declined, Sherwood testified.

“Erica was a very beautiful woman. Any man would have said hello to her,” he added.

Sherwood told the jury he grew up in a home where Sharia law was the norm, and cheating was not allowed. (more…)

News
Dusting of snow expected, VDOT pre-treats roads

We’re in for some snow between 11 p.m. Wednesday and 2 a.m. Thursday.

 

Here’s more from the Virginia Department of Transportation, which is already out there pre-treating the roads and highways: 

Crews are taking advantage of conditions today and Thursday to treat roads with anti-icing materials in northern Virginia, in anticipation of low temperatures through the rest of week and the potential for wintry precipitation over the weekend.

Throughout Fairfax, Loudoun, Prince William and Arlington* counties (*Arlington maintains own secondary roads) crews treat about 5,200 lane miles with liquid magnesium chloride or brine in advance of winter weather. This includes interstate, primary and high-volume secondary road roads, particularly ramps, bridges, and other critical areas prone to freezing.

The Virginia Department of Transportation asks drivers to keep an eye on the forecast for freezing conditions and precipitation. Before venturing out this weekend, VDOT reminds drivers to fill their gas tanks, slow down, to be aware of potential slick spots such as shaded areas and bridges, and to use the following resources:

 

Traffic
Haymarket DDI interchange opening delayed

HAYMARKET, Va. — The opening of the new diverging diamond interchange is delayed until January 7 due to weather, according to a statement from the Virginia Department of Transportation.

The state held a series of meetings to teach drivers how to use the interchange, which places traffic on the opposite side of the road and removes all left turns. 

 

 

News
Sherwood murder trial begins: Mother suffered 7 stabs, 44 cuts

PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY, Va. — John Sherwood walked into court Monday looking much different that he did in his mug shot snapped nearly two years ago.

The 24-year-old, dressed in a button-down shirt, tie, wearing glasses, and now with short hair entered a not guilty plea in front of Circuit Court Judge Steven Smith. Sherwood is charged with first-degree murder in the Jan. 1, 2015 death of his wife Erica Sherwood, with whom he shared a son.

Following a jury selection process, Prosecutors Brian Boyle and Rick Conway brought out the first three of eight witnesses to testify during what is slated to a be a three-day trial. The defense is expected to present two witnesses.

Sharae Harris told the court she knew the 21-year-old victim since they were children in school. Erica Sherwood brought her son to Harris’ mother’s house on Concord Drive in Dale City where Sharae lived with her young son to stay a “couple” days before New Year’s Eve, December 31, 2014.

During a New Year’s Eve party where there had been drinking and marijuana use, John Sherwood showed up and began arguing with his wife, Harris testified. John Sherwood didn’t like that his wife was drinking wine because she could be pregnant, Harris testified.

Sherwood’s body was later found on the floor of a bathroom inside the home. She had suffered seven stab wounds and 44 cuts on her head, neck, and torso areas, according to Dr. Mehi Koolae, the medical examiner who performed an autopsy on Sherwood’s body. The fatal blow, as it was described, was a stab through the left breast that punctured her heart.

“It was a through and through injury,” explained Koolae.

Harris said she hadn’t heard from Sherwood for some time before she brought her son to her in the last hours of her life. Sherwood and her son had been sleeping in one bedroom of the house while Harris and her son had slept in another.

On New Years Eve, Harris testified five people were at her house, including Sherwood and her son, celebrating. Sherwood showed up uninvited.

Harris said her son had gone to bed by 10 p.m. but had awoken, so she went to lay down with him to help him back to sleep. She too fell asleep.

Later, her Erica Sherwood ran into her room and shook Harris to wake her up.

“She said ‘he’s trying to kill me, he’s trying to kill me,’ and she’s shaking me tying to get me up,” explained Harris.

Harris awoke, and leaving her son in bed, she and ran down a hallway to a bathroom with Erica Sherwood behind her.

“Right when I was about to shut the door, it busted open,” said Harris.

The force of the door pushed Harris into a bathtub and caused Erica Sherwood to fall onto the floor. John Sherwood began punching his wife using both of his fists, said Harris.

“She said ‘help me, Sharae,'” said Harris. “I just told [John Sherwood] to think about his son.”

Sherwood took a knife and cut Erica Sherwood’s throat while the couple’s son stood outside the bathroom, said Harris. With his wife gasping for air, John Sherwood then punched Harris in the face while she was still standing in the bathroom and then left the house, she added.

Erica’s body lay on the bathroom floor. “I told her to get up but she couldn’t get up,” said Harris.

Harris then grabbed the children and went to a neighbor’s house to call 911. Police arrived about 1:30 a.m.

Prosecutors showed photos of what they said is the murder weapon, a kitchen knife that had been missing its tip before it being used as a murder weapon. After it was used to kill Sherwood, the knife appeared bent, as Harris described it while identifying the blade in a photo shown to the jury by prosecutors.

The Sherwood’s son was not injured during the attack. Jon Harris, the first of three police officers on the scene, said the child had blood on his face and on his shirt.

Jon Harris, who has no relation to Sheree Harris, testified that he and two other officers entered the house with pistols drawn due to information was given to them by police dispatch that the suspect could still be inside the home. The police officer testified he saw Harris standing with small two children in her hands.

“She said ‘he killed her,'” he said.

The trial will continue at 9 a.m. Tuesday.

News
Demolition desperado found during police burglary investigation

From Prince William police: 

Residential Burglary – On December 10 at 12:39AM, officers responded to a residence located in the 2800 block of Beechtree Ln in Woodbridge (22191) to investigate a burglary in progress. Arriving officers checked the residence and observed no signs of forced entry. The homeowner reported to police that the screen to a basement level door was pushed open. As officers were on scene investigating, noises were heard coming from a neighboring residence. Upon checking the home, officers located the accused inside tearing down drywall. The accused was immediately detained by officers and appeared under the influence. After confirming the accused, identified as Aaron Maurice SALTER, did not leave at either residence, he was subsequently arrested. A search of the accused resulted in a white crystal substance being located.

Arrested on December 10:

Aaron Maurice SALTER, 33, of no fixed address

Charged with burglary, destruction of property, and possession of a scheduled I or II narcotic

Court Date: February 1, 2017 | Bond: Held WITHOUT Bond

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