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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…)

Anti-religion group erects banner next to nativity at Nelson Park

MANASSAS, Va. — The Freedom From Religion Foundation erected a banner next to a nativity display at Nelson Park in Manassas. 

The group posted this to our site: 

A FFRF Winter Solstice banner has been placed by a local FFRF member next to the crèche scene in Nelson Park in Manassas, Va. FFRF received a permit from the city for its “Let Reason Prevail” banner to counter the religious exhibit. It will be displayed through Dec. 31.

FFRF’s 7½-by-3-foot banner states: “At this Season of the Winter Solstice, LET REASON PREVAIL. There are no gods, no devils, no angels, no heaven or hell. There is only our natural world. Religion is but myth & superstition that hardens hearts and enslaves minds.”

FFRF wishes that the time will come when it won’t have to put up its banners in this manner.

Nelson Park is located near the intersection of Sudley Road and Grant Avenue.

The group regularly posts a similar banner in the city each year, and the FFRF group obtained the proper permits from the city to erect the banner, said Manassas spokeswoman Patty Prince.

The city may only restrict time, place, and length of the display of banners through the permitting process. The city cannot control the content of a banner, other than to ban profanity on banners, added Prince.

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:

 

Ground broken at Manassas Gateway, now Landing at Cannon Branch

MANASSAS, Va. — The Gateway development at Route 28 and Godwin Drive is now called The Landing at Cannon Branch. 

The name comes from the creek that forms the retention pond next to the property. 

City officials and developers broke ground on the project on Tuesday. 

From a city press release: 

Today, representatives from the City of Manassas and Buchanan Partners, a full-service real estate development firm operating in the Washington, D.C. metro area, came together to break ground on The Landing at Cannon Branch. The two entities have formed a public-private partnership to develop the city’s only waterfront property, commonly known as Gateway property and located just off of Prince William Parkway, in a way that will spur community engagement and economic growth.

The Landing at Cannon Branch property—40 acres located on Gateway Drive, between Prince William Parkway/Route 234 Bypass and the Manassas DMV—is to be transformed into a space for retail, offices, restaurants, hotels, and over 270 new homes. The project will be developed in phases, with the initial phases already underway.
Last week, the city sold the first 9 acres of residential property to Buchanan Partners for $6 million. These proceeds will be reinvested in the community and over the next 6 months, Buchanan Partners will prepare the site and install the utilities that will make residential and commercial construction possible. Additionally, Buchanan Partners is aggressively pursuing Heritage Brewing to bring them on as an anchor tenant for their new brewery and restaurant, and the City currently has a parcel under contract to a hotel developer.

The Landing at Cannon Branch project is expected to generate more than $250 million in new investment, nearly $20 million in land sale proceeds for the City of Manassas, and $3 million in real estate taxes down the line. In addition, the new development is expected to generate jobs and tie into local businesses at the Manassas Regional Airport and Innovation Park.

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. 

 

 

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.

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

Restoration firm SC Companies to present at 1 Million Cups Wednesday

SC Companies will present Wednesday at 1 Million Cups Prince William. The group meets 8:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. at the Hylton Performing Arts Center in Manassas.

This will be the last meeting of the 1 Million Cups Prince William for 2016. The event is free to attend.

The group will resume weekly meetings at the Hylton on January 11, 2017.

Submitted: 

SC Companies Inc, founded in 1983, is family owned class A general contractor specializing in restoration, construction, cleaning, and inspections as well as project management services.

Our wide range of services allows us to see the entire project and develop detailed scopes that address the entire situation, not just a small part. This allows for an overall better-finished project and, many times, cost savings with our expertise, management, and pricing. We serve a wide variety of customers including homeowners, real estate agents, property managers, insurance agents, new home builders, and community managers.

We are able to handle our array of services because we have some of the best people in the industry. Our people that have years of experience and care about the project as well as the overall relationship we have with each customer.

In addition to caring about our customers, we care about the community as well. SC Companies helps including Autism Society of Northern Virginia, March of Dimes, Sweet Julia Grace Foundation, and local schools. SC Companies is a member of the Prince William Chamber, Community Association Institute and National Association of Home Builders.

Speaking on behalf of SC Companies will be Jennifer Osborn, CEO, and Owner. Jennifer is a lifelong local resident. She graduated from Potomac High School before earning both her Bachelor’s Degree and MBA from George Mason University. Jennifer is a certified in Mold Inspection and Remediation by both IICRC and ESA. She lives in Bristow with her husband Stephen, and their two kids.