Martinsville Bulletin, Inc.
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204 Broad Street
Martinsville, Virginia 24115
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January 4, 2015
‘A constant nightmare’ for illegal immigrants - News
For illegal immigrants in the United States, day-to-day life is marked by strict self-imposed rules, frequent frustration and constant paranoia, according to several local immigrants.
Eli Salgado, 24, of the Martinsville-Henry County Dreamers, an area immigration activism group, said that being undocumented in the U.S. is “a constant nightmare.”
Salgado came to the U.S. in 1994 when he was 4 years old. In 2012, he said, he applied for President Barack Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) executive order. A little over a year later, he received a work permit and is protected from deportation for unlawful presence unless he commits a crime.
I agree with Naomi Hodge-Muse on many points of her opinion letter to the Bulletin today (“Live up to our own creed,” Dec. 7).
I must add that in this great country no mother (regardless of race or ethnicity) should have to fear for her child’s life every time they go out to rob a store or commit other crimes.
November 10, 2014
Cyber crime targets feds - News
A $10 billion-a-year effort to protect sensitive government data, from military secrets to Social Security numbers, is struggling to keep pace with an increasing number of cyberattacks and is unwittingly being undermined by federal employees and contractors.
Workers scattered across more than a dozen agencies, from the Defense and Education departments to the National Weather Service, are responsible for at least half of the federal cyberincidents reported each year since 2010, according to an Associated Press analysis of records.
September 29, 2014
Obama: 'Contradictory' Syria policy helps Assad - News
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama on Sunday gave voice to the conundrum at the heart of his Syria policy, acknowledging that the U.S.-led military campaign against the Islamic State group and al-Qaida’s affiliate in Syria is helping Syrian dictator Bashar Assad, a man the United Nations has accused of war crimes.
NEW YORK — More defiant than contrite, Roger Goodell announced no sweeping changes in his first public statements in more than a week of turmoil surrounding the NFL’s handling of players accused of crimes.
Martinsville’s new police chief, Sean Dunn, is placing much emphasis on his officers getting to know the city residents they serve and protect.
That is part of “community-oriented policing” efforts involving residents and police working together to fight crime. The better that people know officers who are trying to protect them, the more likely they are to report crime and mischief they see or suspect is occurring, police have said.
“Everybody has a role” in keeping the city safe, Dunn told the Martinsville-Henry County Chamber of Commerce’s board on Thursday.
August 24, 2014
Ex-gov. claims he isn’t guilty - News
RICHMOND (AP) — Former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell will be back on the witness stand in his corruption trial Monday, facing questions from one of his wife’s lawyers before prosecutors cross-examine him.
It will mark the fifth week of his corruption trial.
McDonnell told jurors Friday he was both innocent and contrite as he ended his third straight day of testifying.
Asked point blank by defense attorney Henry Asbill whether he ever committed the crimes he’s been charged with, McDonnell said he had not.
According to Henry County Commonwealth’s Attorney Andrew Nester, a current asset forfeiture case serves as a good explanation for how the county deals with seized money.
August 10, 2014
Hats off to.... - Opinion
• Residents, organizers and police officers who took part in Tuesday’s 31st National Night Out. The event is designed to give residents a chance to build relationships with local law enforcement agencies so they can work together to combat crime.
• CHILL (Communities Helping Improve Local Lives) youth task force members and the Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control for launching Project Sticker Shock last week.
Hundreds of area residents turned out at three Martinsville churches Tuesday for fun, food, music and fellowship on the 31st National Night Out.
Martinsville Police Officer Coretha Gravely, who helps organize the event and oversees 49 area Neighborhood Watch groups covering 72 streets, said National Night Out is about giving residents an opportunity to build a relationship with local law enforcement so that they can work together to oppose crime.
July 25, 2014
Early release eyed for some drug felons - News
WASHINGTON — Tens of thousands of federal inmates serving time for drug crimes may be eligible for early release under a cost-cutting proposal adopted recently that would dramatically reduce the nation’s prison population over time.
The U.S. Sentencing Commission, which earlier this year voted to substantially lower recommended sentences for drug-dealing felons, voted unanimously July 18 to retroactively apply that change to prisoners now behind bars.
More than 46,000 inmates, including many who have already served a decade or longer in prison, would be eligible to seek early release under the commission’s decision.
July 24, 2014
Criminal history no longer on city applications - News
The city of Martinsville has removed from its employment application a question on whether an applicant has been convicted of a crime out of concern that applicants who answer yes might face discrimination.
Two brothers were found dead in separate locations in the Axton area late Friday and early Saturday, according to a news release and officials with the Henry County Sheriff’s Office.
“We do feel drugs and drug trafficking play into this crime,” said Sheriff Lane Perry.
June 13, 2014
Police: crime lower at complex - News
The difference between Maplewood Apartments and Rivermont Apartments is like night and day, according to two Martinsville police officers.
Officer Coretha Gravely and Deputy Police Chief Eddie Cassady both were present Wednesday at a dedication ceremony for the newly christened and revitalized Maplewood Apartments, formerly known as Rivermont Apartments. The complex is at 1446 Fayette St. in Martinsville.
I agree with Keith Law’s letter (”Punishment fit the crime,” Martinsville Bulletin, May 2). Clayton Lockett got better than he deserved. A lot of media coverage is playing out on every execution of a convicted murderer. I just wish the liberal press would give equal time reporting their heinous crimes that lead them to the execution chamber. The other inmate, Charles Warner, whose execution was temporarily postponed, brutally raped and murdered an 11-month-old child. You read it right. An 11-month-old child.
I have read numerous articles expressing outrage over the botched execution of Clayton Lockett in Oklahoma. During his daily press briefing, White House press secretary Jay Carney labeled the execution inhumane.
We sometimes forget how important details and accuracy are in reporting and how dedicated many journalists are in trying to bring the truth to the public. Our American and worldwide journalists work hard to be accurate and truthful when reporting government abuses, corruption instances and crimes.
The people of crimea have voted to stay with Russia, and as far as I am concerned, that is their business — not ours, even though our president, who called the election illegal, may not agree. So what?
March 16, 2014
crimea explained - Accent
Russia is occupying crimea, a region of the Ukraine. Today, Crimea will hold a referendum to determine whether it will remain with Ukraine or join Russia.
It’s more than a conflict between nations: It’s about people.
What is it like from the people’s perspective? My sister, Dr. Mara Kozelsky, has lived in the Ukraine and Russia several times for spells. She is a professor of Russian studies at the University of South Alabama and the author of “Christianizing Crimea: Shaping Sacred Space in the Russian Empire and Beyond.”
She been watching the scene unfold with avid interest and has kept in contact with folks she knows in the Ukraine.
BHS teacher, Ukrainian ex-pat weighs in on Ukraine’s future
Russia has put the future of crimea and the rest of Ukraine in severe jeopardy, according to Nadia Kriger, who said she believes the ramifications could extend all the way to America.
March 14, 2014
U.S. warns Russia of sanctions if it annexes strategic region - News
WASHINGTON (AP) — In a last-minute bid to stave off a new chapter in the East-West crisis over Ukraine, Secretary of State John Kerry warned Russia on Thursday that it faces immediate and “very serious” sanctions if it annexes Ukraine’s strategic crimea region.
March 3, 2014
World scrambles as Russia tightens grip on crimea - News
PEREVALNE, Ukraine (AP) — Warning that it was “on the brink of disaster,” Ukraine put its military on high alert Sunday and appealed for international help to avoid what it feared was the possibility of a wider invasion by Russia.
Ruby Stultz is tired of the bad reputation that her neighborhood is getting.
Stultz, the Neighborhood Watch captain on Pony Place, told Martinsville City Council on Monday that the city’s West End is “now labeled as a ghetto area” due to crimes — such as a Nov. 17 shooting incident — that have occurred there in recent years.
This self-protection class isn’t about how to fight off a criminal.
It’s more basic than that: It’s about how not to attract criminals to you in the first place.
Criminals don’t want to have to work any harder than they have to, according to Susan Traxel Martin, who teaches the seminar Refuse To Be A Victim. She gave the program, which is a service of the National Rifle Association (NRA), Saturday at the Henry County Administration Building. The four-hour workshop was sponsored by Henry County Parks and Recreation.
I have never submitted a letter to the editor before, but felt compelled to write and express my support for Clay Gravely to be Martinsville’s next commonwealth’s attorney. As a longtime Martinsville resident and small business owner in this community, I can say unequivocally that I think it’s time for new leadership in the office of the commonwealth’s attorney.
Local law enforcement agencies are using technology to help fight crime.
In Henry County, Sheriff Lane Perry is promoting a new texting and email system, while the Martinsville Police Department and the Patrick County Sheriff’s Office both have created social media pages on Facebook, according to Interim Martinsville Police Chief Eddie Cassady and Patrick investigator Danny Martin, respectively.
In Tuesday’s article about the crime rate, Joan Ziglar agrees with Clay Gravely’s position that bringing down the crime rate is a “team effort.”
October 8, 2013
crime control is ‘team effort’ - News
Reducing crime locally is an effort involving more than one person, the two Martinsville commonwealth’s attorney candidates in the Nov. 5 election say.
Statistics released earlier this year by former city police chief Mike Rogers revealed Martinsville’s crime rates in 2012 were among the lowest the city has seen in about three decades. Incumbent Commonwealth’s Attorney Joan Ziglar has promoted that lack of crime in her campaign advertising.
Ziglar and her challenger, Clay Gravely, discussed the commonwealth’s attorney’s role in the community and, specifically, in reducing crime.
If I could vote in Martinsville for commonwealth attorney, I would cast my ballot for Clay Gravely with the hope that a new attitude could emerge in that department toward individuals who attempt to report crimes.
September 17, 2013
Va. tests gun data program - News
RICHMOND — A test project in Virginia is allowing law enforcement agencies to share information on guns used in crimes.
The program gives police instant access to a database that can help them link suspects to guns in a criminal investigation. It also could help detect potential gun traffickers and straw purchasers, and identify patterns of weapon trafficking.
Personally, I believe (U.S. Attorney General) Eric Holder’s plan (to lessen jail sentences for drug users) is on the right track but not for the same reason. I have always thought it is a sin for one man to force his heart onto another.
This is regarding the Martinsville Bulletin news story from Tuesday (“Holder plan opposed”). In this story, local police chiefs expressed their disagreements with United States Attorney General Eric Holder’s proposed sentencing changes. Local police chiefs feel Holder’s proposed policy will take away another tool to fight crime.
Local authorities disagree with major changes to the criminal justice system to scale back the use of harsh sentences for certain drug-related crimes.
August 12, 2013
VMNH director aids Ohio crime probe - News
A dozen plastic tubs in the basement taxidermy lab of the Virginia Museum of Natural History (VMNH) may hold clues to an Ohio slaying case.
Dr. Joe Keiper, VMNH executive director, traveled to Ohio in late July to lend his entomological (insect) expertise to an East Cleveland murder investigation.
August 11, 2013
Hats off to ... - Opinion
• Martinsville residents and police who organized the National Night Out crime and drug prevention block parties Tuesday ...
August 7, 2013
Weather, fun, food draw crowd during Night Out - News
Beautiful weather and the promise of good food and fellowship brought hundreds of people out Tuesday evening in Martinsville for the National Night Out crime and drug prevention event.
August 1, 2013
Night Out to be held Tuesday - News
Martinsville will take part in the 30th annual National Night Out crime and drug prevention event Tuesday.
Funds sought for costly drug cleanup, crime enforcement
The Henry County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday scheduled public hearings on several proposed ordinances to help recoup funds spent on drug, DUI and other enforcement and emergency activities.
The three public hearings will be held during the board’s meeting at 6 p.m. Aug. 27.
July 22, 2013
County may say 'pay up' on crime - News
The Henry County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday will consider pursuing several ordinances that would hold criminals more accountable by levying fines against them.
During the 3 p.m. meeting in the Summerlin Meeting Room, supervisors will consider one ordinance to help pay for costs of cleaning up methamphetamine operations.
July 22, 2013
Council to honor Rogers - News
Retiring city Police Chief Mike Rogers will be honored by Martinsville City Council on Tuesday.
Rogers, 54, has worked for the Martinsville Police Department since 1980, when he was hired as a patrol officer. He rose through the ranks, working in criminal investigations and vice and narcotics before he became sergeant of criminal investigations in 1992. Two years later, he was named sergeant of community policing and street crimes.
June 27, 2013
Residents to get ‘Sticker Shock’ - News
“Project Sticker Shock” kicked off locally Wednesday. The project is “a statewide initiative designed to prevent adults from illegally providing alcohol to youth” in the community, a release stated. Youth from the local CHILL Task Force met at local Food Lion, Fas Mart, and Kroger stores to put warning labels (at right) on alcoholic beverages, alerting people that it is a crime to purchase alcohol for minors. Above, CHILL members (from left) David Chitwood, 15, Alexis Gravely, 16, and JeNai Davis, 17, put stickers on alcohol packages at the Food Lion on Commonwealth Boulevard. (Bulletin photos by Mike Wray)
I have to applaud the governor for the thought of returning the rights of nonviolent felons. The article in the Thursday edition had a lot to do with the civil rights taken when a person is convicted of a felony, and the return of those rights, but made no mention of returning the constitutional right of keeping and baring firearms, a right which is taken also when we are declared a felon. If the crime was a nonviolent one, why take a person’s protection?
The facts do not support the contention that there is a positive relationship between the number of firearms owned by private citizens and the number of homicides by firearms. The real data on this subject are found in a publication by The United Nations Office on Drugs and crime. The following information comes from an article titled “Gun homicides and gun ownership listed by country” at guardian.co.uk.
A Henry County marijuana dealer was sentenced Monday to 400 months in federal prison for his part in a 2010 robbery conspiracy that ended in the shooting death of Akoreon JaJauntex (A.J.) Murphy in the Axton area.
Rodney Lamar Hairston, 23, was sentenced Monday in U.S. District Court in Danville.
In October, Hairston entered guilty pleas to one count of conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute marijuana and one count of possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime and in the course of that violation did cause the death of another person in the first degree, according to previous reports.
A few weeks ago, there was an article on Sandy Level’s Stop The Violence Walk (Martinsville Bulletin, Jan 22). It appears this Axton community had been plagued with drug-related crime and homicides for years.
February 11, 2013
PHCC looking into campus police - News
Patrick Henry Community College (PHCC) is proposing to establish a police department as part of efforts to improve campus security.
crime and other mischief are rare on campus, according to Gary Dove, the college’s emergency planning coordinator.
In 2011, the Alabama State Legislature rendered an apology to 91 year old Recy Taylor, a black lady who was gang raped by six white men in 1944 in Alabama. They apologized to this black American woman, some 60 years later, because no one was ever arrested or punished for this heinous crime.
A bond hearing will be held today for the Martinsville man accused of falsely calling law enforcement about a gunman at the University of Virginia’s College at Wise.
Bryant Hairston, 20, of Rosewood Avenue, Martinsville, a sophomore at U.Va.-Wise, was charged Wednesday with knowingly giving a false report as to the commission of a crime to a law enforcement official with the intent to mislead, according to court documents.
Governor praised, criticized for advocating change
RICHMOND — What’s wrong with this picture: Democrats leaping to their feet to give Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell a standing ovation. The ACLU praising him. Tough-on-crime GOP legislators denouncing perhaps the most significant criminal justice initiative of the final year of his term.
Welcome to Virginia’s version of Bizarro World — the 2013 General Assembly.
Please allow me to comment on Don Barnhart’s letter, “More guns, less crime” (Dec. 31). In his letter, Barnhart not only discusses guns and his support for concealed weapons, he also mentions how abortions should be illegal. He states that daily, 3,500 mothers in the U.S. have abortions and that this is morally wrong.
A great tragedy occurred in Newtown, Conn. Twenty young children were murdered at school. If those of “progressive” persuasion successfully use the emotional sway of that event to enact more restrictive controls on the ownership of firearms, the tragedy at Newtown will be compounded.
RICHMOND (AP) — Advocates of tougher laws against financial exploitation of the elderly and mentally incapacitated will press their case in the General Assembly again in 2013, this time with the approval of the Virginia State crime Commission.
Editorial: Program earned recognition - Opinion
Most people probably do not know about Martinsville’s Victim/Witness Assistance Program until they become the victim of a crime. But it is good to know that the program is there when needed, and it is, according to one measure, a stellar program.
Martinsville’s Victim/Witness Assistance Program has been honored by the Virginia Criminal Injuries Compensation Fund as its Program of the Year.
The fund helps compensate crime victims for expenses such as medical bills, lost wages and counseling. It gets its money from assessments on convicted criminals, court fees and federal grant funds, its website shows.
On Tuesday, Nov. 6, we will go to the polls to cast our votes for the candidates we think will move this community and country forward. Prior to casting your vote, determine who will bring parties and constituencies together to cut taxes, attract new businesses, reduce crime and invest in education.
(Tyrone) Wooding, I find your remarks about the Republican Party to be reprehensible and without merit (Bulletin letter, “Vote GOP? No thanks,” Oct. 17). You clearly stated the Republican Party practiced race baiting, voter suppression and of buying the White House. Please good fellow, provide us all with names and descriptions of the people who practice this chicanery and the crime you believe them to have committed.
October 16, 2012
crime Stoppers hopes to raise profile - News crime Stoppers wants to increase its profile in the community and educate residents about its mission of helping local law enforcement agencies keep Martinsville-Henry County a safe place to live, work and raise a family.
In 2011, crime Stoppers was directly instrumental in helping law enforcement authorities solve a total of 13 cases, including bringing six fugitives to justice; three cases each of burglaries and malicious woundings; one case each of homicide, armed robbery, larceny and other, according to data provided by the agency.
September 16, 2012
'Normal' troubles - Accent
Did Nancy Drew ever make out with her long-time boyfriend, Ned?
The girl sleuth of book-series fame, who began her crime-solving career in the 1930s, was perpetually 18 and drove a convertible. Surely she must have at least pecked Ned on the cheek, but in all the 54 Nancy Drew books I read in fifth grade, no image of intimacy sticks out. My childhood memories do not include Nancy Drew’s breath being taken away by lingering locked lips à la Judy Blume, the writer girls grew up with in the 1970s and ‘80s.
Fast forward to 2012. Lemon is 17 and Esch are 15, and both are pregnant.
September 7, 2012
Three wanted men believed to be in Henry County - News
Three men wanted in connection with an incident in Pittsylvania County are suspected of being in the Henry County-Martinsville area, according to Devin Taylor, crime analyst with the Pittsylvania County Sheriff’s Office.
Warrants for the three men — Kevin Darel Preston, Charles “C.J.” Flood Jr. and Delano Cook — have been issued on charges of robbery and breaking and entering with intent to commit robbery, according to a release from the sheriff’s office.
I’m a very concerned citizen of Henry County who has noticed several serious crimes that have occurred in the county, and the people responsible are not getting serious time in prison. The commonwealth attorney’s office of Martinsville just had a defendant plead guilty to capital murder with no chance of parole, yet Henry County has had several murders where the defendants pleaded guilty but only received a minimum of years or even months in prison.
Three men wanted in connection with an incident in Pittsylvania County are suspected of being in the Henry County-Martinsville area, according to Devin Taylor, crime analyst with the Pittsylvania Sheriff’s Office.
Warrants for the three men — Kevin Darel Preston, Charles “C.J.” Flood Jr. and Delano Cook — have been issued on charges of robbery and breaking and entering with intent to commit robbery, according to a release from the Pittsylvania Sheriff’s Office.
Tuesday night, Martinsville was one of more than 10,000 places across the United States that took part in the annual event, aimed at fighting crime by helping people get to know their neighbors and police.
As he prepares for the annual scholarship benefit ride that will mark the 10th anniversary of the Short family deaths, Ray Reynolds said his memories of the morning of Aug. 15, 2002, remain clear.
“I remember seeing all the deputies from Henry County and the Rockingham County (North Carolina) crime unit sitting in the yard of Jennifer Short’s home at 8:30 at morning when I went to work,” Reynolds said. Crime scene tape was draped around the home.
July 30, 2012
crime's Night Out set - News
The Martinsville Police Department proclaims it is giving crime and illegal drugs “a going away party.”
This year’s National Night Out block parties, sponsored by Neighborhood Watch groups, will be held from 6-8 p.m. Aug. 7 at three city locations.
On the Trayvon Martin case, I say let the criminal justice system work its way through on this one, and the community of Sanford, Fla., not us, will have to live with the outcome. I am not suggesting that this community has more crime than others, and our own crime incidence is nothing to brag about, but I am saying that we do have a judicial system in this country, and we need to believe in something. Otherwise, we are all in trouble.
All the media attention in regards to Trayvon Martin only fuels the fire of racial divide in this country. The whole notion of “black on white” crime in America is put on a pedestal because it creates the needed controversy that helps sell newspapers and ratings.
Every American, regardless of color, should be outraged owing to Trayvon Martin’s wanton blood-letting or shooting death in Florida by the hands of an alleged vigilante in quest of life’s precious blood simply for a black person who committed the “supposed” crime of walking in public while black and stereotypically appeared suspicious, violent, threatening and on drugs in his warped mind.
February 7, 2012
Senate OKs repeal of law limiting handgun purchases - News
RICHMOND "” The Virginia Senate passed legislation Monday repealing the 1993 one-handgun-a-month law, all but ensuring the demise of a statute enacted after the state became a supplier of guns used in crimes in New York and other major East Coast cities.
The bill, sponsored by Republican Sen. Bill Stanley, R-Glade Hill, would have automatically transferred repeat violent offenders from juvenile court to adult court rather than leave the decision up to a judge. It also would have allowed prosecutors to have juveniles charged with certain gang crimes or repeat drug offenses transferred to circuit court for trial as an adult.
Top local law enforcement officers do not believe repealing the state's one-handgun-a-month law would lead to increased crime or have much discernible impact.
Legislation approved by a Virginia Senate committee this week would repeal the law, which was passed in 1994 to curb the trafficking of guns from Virginia to the Northeast, The Associated Press reported.
January 26, 2012
Internet probe ends in arrest - News
The Henry County Sheriff's Office recently initiated its first Internet crimes Against Children (ICAC) investigation, which resulted in charges filed against a Fieldale man.
Kary Lee Taylor Jr., 40, of 301 Frank Redd Road, Fieldale, was arrested Jan. 10 and charged with use of electronic means to entice or allure a minor to conduct a sexual act and attempt to elude police, both felonies, according to a sheriff's office news release. He was jailed without bond.
As many families gather today for traditional Thanksgiving feasts, two mothers will be missing the adult children they lost to crime this year.
"This just flipped my world upside down. The holidays this year will probably be one of the worst times" Anita Lester said she likely will ever face.
Lester's son, Robert "Robby" Lawrence, 33, was one of two people found burned beyond recognition in May after firefighters extinguished a blaze that consumed a 2001 Daewoo hatchback on Willie Craig Road in Bassett.
Those were two of the tips given by a panel of law enforcement officials and attorneys at the "Crime Prevention for Small Businesses" seminar Wednesday at the Longwood Small Business Development Center.
November 4, 2011
Perry: Partnerships key to public safety - News
Forming a strong bond between law enforcement and residents is key to addressing issues, concerns and crime, according to incumbent Henry County Sheriff Lane Perry.
"Each time we have taken an issue before the public," people have responded, said Perry, who is running for a second term in the Nov. 8 election. Opposing him for the second time is Mike McPeek, a retired state trooper.
"My plan going forward is to continue responding to the needs in the community" while building and strengthening partnerships with residents, Perry said.
I have noticed a lot of crime in our Martinsville Bulletin lately in which one man has stolen from another. If one animal steals food from another, one animal has eaten and one has gone hungry. An animal has no concern of conscience.
The Henry County Sheriff's Office is working with legislators to craft a bill that would require recycling businesses to write a detailed description of copper and other metal transactions in an effort to reduce thefts of such items.
Thefts of copper and other metals have been rising lately as the prices for those metals rise, law enforcement officials have said.
I was delighted to find Benjamin Shires' letter to the editor in the paper (Sept. 8). Indeed, Election Day is fast approaching, and the citizens have a decision to make and many questions need to be answered. I am accessible to respond to any issues or concerns.
The first topic involved unsatisfactory crime solution and more emphasis on working with victims to solve crimes.
Today is the 10th anniversary of the World Trade Center, Shanksville field and Pentagon terrorist attacks. Regardless of this heinous crime or of the present economic hard times for our country, it is still the most free and wonderful place to live. One only need visit a foreign country to suddenly appreciate home.
It seems government has become very liberal with charities, entitlements and social programs. Cutting these programs to save money equals a rise in crime, the police force, prisons and civil unrest. Not much is saved. As far as jobs, you would be trading social workers for more prison guards and deputies "” dangerous work. It seems it's better to give than to receive.
I would like to say something about the Mustangs baseball team, if I may. This town is as boring and downtrodden as any town in the country. We have high crime per capita in the state, we have among the highest teen pregnancy rates in the state, and we have the highest unemployment in the state.
A new execution date has been set for a former Henry County man who is on death row in Texas.
Henry Watkins "Hank" Skinner, 49, was sentenced to the death penalty in 1995 for the murder of his girlfriend and her two adult sons in their home in Pampa, Texas. According to the website of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, Skinner is set to be executed Nov. 9 for those crimes.
National Night Out is a fun event with a serious message.
"It's the best way to look out for each other and create support," said the Rev. William Shackleford, minister at St. Paul High Street Baptist Church. If criminals know that "we're watching out for one another," then there may be less crime and disruption in the community, he said.
Here we go again "” with the council that votes on what can or what can't happen in Martinsville.
Pawn shops have nothing to do with the rate of crime in the area. We sell, pawn and buy items at K&F Pawn Shop. Sometimes, we need to buy and sell items in order to pay bills or even buy food.
July 31, 2011
Night Out on crime is Tuesday - News
Area residents will be asked to take to the streets on Tuesday for the National Night Out anti-crime event in Martinsville.
National Night Out, which is sponsored by the National Association of Town Watch and co-sponsored locally by the Martinsville Police Department, will involve more than 10,000 communities in all 50 states.
A special grand jury empaneled to investigate gangs, drugs and felony crimes of violence will give law enforcement a powerful crime-solving tool, officials said Wednesday.
Henry County Circuit Court Judge David V. Williams empaneled the special grand jury at the request of Henry County Commonwealth's Attorney Bob Bushnell and Henry County Sheriff Lane Perry, according to a news release. The panel will investigate cases that are pending and those in which no charges have been made, the release said.
At the request of Henry County Commonwealth's Attorney Bob Bushnell and Henry County Sheriff Lane Perry, Henry County Circuit Court Judge David Williams has empaneled a special grand jury to investigate gangs, drugs and felony crimes of violence "” including cases that are currently pending in the courts and cases in which no charges have been made, according to a news release.
June 22, 2011
Sheriff: 'Sexting' can be a crime - News
The unwanted receiving or distribution of sexual images or messages on a cell phone or other form of electronic communication is illegal, according to Henry County Sheriff Lane Perry.
These transmissions, also known as sexting, are "punishable and prosecutable," Perry said.
My, oh my, how some people get so touchy when someone criticizes their favorite president. What did I do (concerning his May 30 letter, "Obama away during crisis"�)? Did I commit a mortal sin or a major crime? Perhaps.
I don't really understand, because I have never had a favorite president.
The rights of a man charged with murder in connection with a convenience store slaying last year were not violated during a police interrogation shortly after the crime, a Henry County Circuit Court judge ruled Monday.
I don't think our nation can stand much more of the Democrats.
They probably will refuse to abdicate the "throne" even if they lose in 2012 "” probably call out the Army and jail workers without health insurance, teachers in picket lines, and anyone seen at a tea party rally as dissidents or insurgents or even accuse the rest of us of committing hate crimes if they had attended Donald Trump rallies.
Well, here we go again. I thought we had the crime solved on Pony Place for the petty thefts of newspapers. Recently, my neighbor had her paper stolen out of her yard. Not to mention, the day after my last letter was published, they came in my gate and got my paper that morning.
March 22, 2011
Familial DNA to be used in crime probes - News
RICHMOND "” Virginia has joined only a handful of states in using the genetic material from relatives to track suspects in violent crimes who have left DNA evidence at a crime scene but whose genetic fingerprint is not contained in any database.
Gov. Bob McDonnell announced Monday that the Virginia Department of Forensic Science now has the capability to perform familial DNA searches, a controversial approach to track violent offenders that some states have shunned because of privacy or fairness concerns.
Gene Fishel, senior assistant attorney general and chief of the Virginia Attorney General's Office's computer crimes section, gave presentations at Albert Harris and Patrick Henry elementary schools Friday about responsible use of the Internet, social networking sites and cell phones.
March 8, 2011
High court sides with Texas inmate - News
A former Collinsville resident who is on death row in Texas can pursue his legal claims to crime-scene evidence that he says may show he is innocent, the Supreme Court ruled Monday.
The legal issue in the case was tightly focused and "quite preliminary," according to the New York Times.
March 7, 2011
BREAKING NEWS: Supreme Court rules in favor of Skinner - News
WASHINGTON "” The Supreme Court has ruled that a former Collinsville, Va. resident who is an inmate on death row in Texas can pursue his legal claims to crime-scene evidence that he says may show he is innocent.
The court's narrow 6-3 ruling Monday means that Hank Skinner will not be executed in the near future while his legal case continues.
February 13, 2011
Editorial: GPS act could save lives - Opinion
The House of Delegates took a step to help victims of violent crimes last week when it unanimously approved the Linda Bostwick Act. We hope the state Senate does the same.
I would like to thank the Martinsville Police Department for being so conscientious in the pursuit of my problem of the petty larceny situation at my residence. The young officer that came and talked with me that evening was very professional and understanding.
Letter writer David Puttle (in his letter published Friday), you seem to missing the point that the people on welfare who use drugs are already committing crimes, and the reason they can commit crimes is that every working man and woman is putting free money in their pockets to buy the drugs to distribute on the streets.
What is so hard to understand? They sit on their butts and walk their lazy butts to the mailbox to get paid.
I am concerned about the thought of having those who get welfare to be drug tested. We don't have jobs in this town, and we don't have money that we need to help those who need it, but please, let's not waste money for this.
New information about the Short family slayings came to light Saturday during an episode of a nationally televised crime show.
On the Fox television show "America's Most Wanted," it was disclosed that on Aug. 15, 2002, Patty Murphy and her husband were driving to Eden, N.C., late that night after a trip to New York. She saw a man sitting in a truck near the Short home, and he glared at her, she said.
Everyone by now has heard of a heinous crime (allegedly) committed again by another citizen whose mental capacity is abnormal and repulsive to our society. Who is to blame?
There is enough blame to go around, but in my opinion, it goes back to the 1960s and the then-government of the Kennedys.
December 12, 2010
Editorial: Public has a role in fighting crime - Opinion
It is hard to say that anything good came from the deaths of Mary and Michael Short and the abduction and shooting death of their 9-year-old daughter, Jennifer. But the Short case, which remains unsolved after eight years, taught us that a missing child is not just a family's tragedy. It is the community's heartache.
The 2002 case of Jennifer Short "was emotional and continues to be emotional," he said.
"The public has that emotion, too. Those emotions will never be lost in that case for the people who were here during that time frame," Perry said. "Even after a conviction, it will still stir emotions because it was such a heinous and senseless crime."�
At last, Martinsville Police Chief Mike Rogers has admitted that Martinsville and Henry County does indeed have a gang problem and its own version of a "drug cartel." Rogers has also indicated that he is willing to cooperate with Henry County Sheriff Lane Perry and the State Police, so kudos to the chief.
Another big (5th District U.S. Rep.) Tom Perriello political campaign sign has been vandalized, this time at the corner of Virginia 57 and Lawrence Drive.
Destroying political signs of any persuasion is not funny. It is not just a prank. According to the Pittsylvania County Sheriff's Office, it is a crime. It is a criminal act of larceny and/or vandalism.
October 3, 2010
Area police target gang activity - News
Local law enforcement officials are taking new steps to fight the growing problem of gang activity in Henry County and Martinsville.
An informal task force of local, state and federal officials has begun meeting to address the issue, according to Henry County Sheriff Lane Perry. It is in response to a growing gang presence during the last several years that now is related to a majority of violent crime in the county, Perry said.
Please keep Virginia's young people safe and ask your legislators to vote against the privatization of our liquor stores. There is much research that shows that increasing alcohol outlet density increases underage drinking, crime and all other alcohol-related problems. One expert, Ted Miller, Ph.D., who researches the effects of strategies on alcohol use, said, "Virginia would see 220 more alcohol-related deaths a year if it gave up its retail monopoly, and $40 million a year in additional costs related to criminal justice and substance abuse.
I thought that the response of Charles Taylor's letter (Aug. 16) to Albert Grove's letter (Aug. 12) regarding marijuana use was both interesting and somewhat controversial. If God made all plants, as many people believe, then he must have made marijuana as well.
A Martinsville man was convicted Wednesday in a shooting incident in which another man was wounded after what a prosecutor called a drug deal gone wrong.
A federal jury found Chadriquez "Chad" Devon Williams, 26, guilty of two counts of using and discharging a firearm during a drug trafficking crime and one count of possessing marijuana, court records show. The jurors, seated in U.S. District Court in Danville, deliberated for part of two days before reaching the verdict.
A group of budding detectives got a peek at what life is like for crime scene investigators last week when a Mobile Crime Lab paid a visit to Drewry Mason Elementary School.
Investigators with the Henry County Sheriff's Office took the lab to the school, where they talked to students in a Sci-Tech CSI class. The class was one of several offered during Explore Camp, a week-long camp for fourth- through eighth-graders in the county schools.
July 27, 2010
The Stroller - Stroller
On Tuesday, Aug. 3, neighborhoods throughout Henry and Patrick counties and Martinsville are being invited to join forces with thousands of communities nationwide for the 27th Annual National Night Out crime and drugs prevention event. From 6 to 8:30 p.m., residents will be asked to lock their doors, turn on porch lights and spend the evening outside with neighbors and police.
June 30, 2010
Cleanup crew tackles litter, crime - News
For volunteers who took part in a community cleanup in Martinsville on Saturday, cleaning up the streets is about more than just eliminating litter.
They hope to help eliminate crime as well.
The Neighborhood Watch Committees of Starling Avenue and Forest, Wilson, Chalmers, Spring, Woodrow, Short, Emmette, Carter and Park streets took part in the cleanup.
Officers executing a search warrant in connection with a slaying and robbery at a local convenience store arrested a 26-year-old Bassett man and charged him with possessing a firearm that was seized as part of the investigation, Henry County Sheriff Lane Perry said Thursday.
Police do not believe the gun, a Cobray 11/nine mm, was used to kill one store clerk and injure another May 28 at BG's Express #2, Perry said.
However, he said, "I can't say it wasn't on someone's person" during the crime.
Police investigating Friday's shooting death and robbery at a Henry County convenience store have talked to the owners of two vehicles that were in the vicinity the night of the crime.
The owners of the "red sedan with the silver Lamborghini doors and the large yellow sedan have both come forward and cooperated in the investigation. We have also located the white four-door mid-sized sedan, Pontiac Grand-Am, and are in contact with the owner," the Henry County Sheriff's Office stated in a release Tuesday night.
In regards to the story of the two puppies found on Chatham Heights road: How sick have we become to mutilate innocent creatures for our enjoyment? These puppies were probably going to be used for dog fighting, which is a crime. Animal cruelty is a bigger crime. I hope the person or persons responsible for this act is subjected to having cut off them ... you can imagine.
May 9, 2010
Doctor: Most with schizophrenia not violent - News
The vast majority of people with schizophrenia are not violent, and the vast majority of violent crimes are not committed by people with schizophrenia or other mental illnesses.
That's according to psychologist Dan Murrie, Ph.D., of the Institute of Law, Psychiatry and Public Policy at the University of Virginia. He was talking in general terms Friday about the mental illness of schizophrenia.
I usually don't respond to drivel; however, I'll make an exception in this case. J. Michael Bestler claimed that my letter of April 27 proves his point that anti-Catholicism is indeed alive and well in the United States. He then supported this rather lame assertion by saying later that, "Like Watergate, it wasn't the crime but rather the cover-up that was the real crime." Yeah, right. There are hundreds, probably thousands, of Catholic victims who would dispute that statement. Are they, too, anti-Catholic?
April 21, 2010
Bulletin lecture shares stories behind the stories - News
Martinsville Bulletin Editor Ginny Wray and Photographer Mike Wray shared their perspectives on some of the most memorable local stories of the past 35 years during a lecture Tuesday at the New College Institute.
The Wrays shared photographs representative of everything from horrific crimes to factory closings to big moments involving politicians and celebrities during their talk, which was part of NCI's noncredit lecture series.
To my wonderful kids, daddy sits here and wonders why God blessed me with something so special, and all I did was name them and my life became perfect.
There was no one or nothing that could take their place, and then on May 8, 2009, daddy committed a crime that took me away for 31â�„2 years. It turned our family upside down. My wife was left with no husband. My daughter was left with no memory of her father, and my son was left with memories that just faded away with time.
Returns on investment for Boys & Girls Clubs programming range nationally from $7 to $40 for every $1 spent on programming. As Boys & Girls Clubs celebrations around the nation officially began March 21, it seems an appropriate time to share some observations.
"¢ Reduction in crime "” The hours of 3 to 6 p.m. are considered "prime time" for youth crime. Boys & Girls Clubs of the Blue Ridge offers after-school programming for more than 750 young people where they will not commit or become victims of crimes or engage in other risky behaviors.
DANVILLE "” A Martinsville man was sentenced Monday to more than 19 years in prison for distributing cocaine and other charges in connection with incidents in the Martinsville-Henry County area in 2008.
A jury in December found Carlos Santana Morris, 33, guilty of four counts of distributing cocaine, one count of using a firearm in relation to a drug trafficking crime and one count of possessing a firearm as a convicted felon.
Sunday at Star of Bethlehem Missionary Baptist Church
For a church to be trusting and forgiving is a good thing "” except that being known for trust and forgiveness makes churches vulnerable to crime, warns the Rev. William C. Randolph.
That's why Star of Bethlehem Missionary Baptist Church in Bassett, where Randolph is the pastor, is sponsoring the program "Safety in the Church" at 5 p.m. Sunday. Sgt. Eric F. Hairston of the Henry County Sheriff's Office will talk about crime and safety issues in houses of worship.
December 16, 2009
Area man convicted in federal case - News
A jury deliberated for an hour Tuesday in federal court before finding a Henry County man guilty of six charges related to drugs and firearms.
Carlos Santana Morris, 32, was found guilty of three counts of distributing a substance containing cocaine base and one count each of distributing cocaine, use of a firearm during a drug trafficking crime and possessing a firearm after having been convicted of a crime punishable by more than one year in prison, court records show.
December 4, 2009
County man held in sex case - News
A local man faces four counts of using a communications device to solicit children for sexual activities, according to a news release from the Southern Virginia Internet crimes Against Children Task Force.
According to the release, John Presley of 295 Rosewood Ave., which is in the Collinsville District of Henry County, was arrested Wednesday and charged with the four counts.
Hairston hid under wife's bed before shooting her in the back
Family members wept Wednesday as Circuit Court Judge David V. Williams sentenced Terrance Milano Hairston to 16 years in prison for crimes against his estranged wife, including shooting her after she found him hiding under her bed.
"I love my wife dearly," Hairston said in a low tone Wednesday as he asked Williams to "consider my kids" when sentencing him.
Albert Harris Elementary School students were joined in their classrooms by a few members of the Martinsville Police Department, who wielded small pumpkin-carving knives to create the jack-o'-lanterns.
October 18, 2009
Making my way here at home - Accent
When Dorothy clicked her heels together in "The Wizard of Oz" she wished to be nowhere but home.
"There's no place like home," she repeated.
She may have been from Kansas, but she could have been talking about here. There is no place on Earth like this place: Beautiful scenery, low crime rates, the best cooking you will ever find ... a double digit unemployment rate and almost nonexistent shopping areas.
While it is true that many people my age who went away to college want to move back here, you can't blame them for staying away.
For years now since the drug scene began in the '60s, many people have suggested legalizing drugs in America in order to prevent crimes of violence.
However, the idea that carcinogens like cigarettes and marijuana are helpful to people in pain does not justify smoking. In addition, "pot" may cause birth defects and permanent brain damage in newborns of parents who smoke it.
This past Sunday marked the seventh annual Jennifer Short Scholarship ride, and once again, I was honored to be able to participate in the ride. My ride from Concord, N.C., was consumed mainly with thoughts of this despicable crime and wondering if there would ever be a closure to this crime.
August 4, 2009
National Night Out is tonight - News
National Night Out, an event designed to encourage people to watch out for their neighbors and help prevent crime, will be observed tonight.
There will be five neighborhood block parties in Martinsville to coincide with the national event, now in its 26th year. Residents are encouraged to attend the event closest to their neighborhood, said Martinsville Police Sgt. Marshall Farley.
The goal of the parties "is to promote neighborhood watch and to let people in their own neighborhoods get to know each other," Farley said.
The Martinsville Police Department and Henry County Sheriff's Office are investigating numerous vandalisms where it appears that subjects have shot the store fronts of numerous local businesses and some vehicles with BBs, according to a city release.
It appears that most, if not all, of the crimes were committed while the perpetrators were riding in a vehicle.
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) "” The South Carolina serial killer who terrorized a small community was well-known to authorities as a bully, so intimidating that a scared elderly man once refused to testify against him and extortion charges were thrown out.
The career criminal, Patrick Burris, had repeated run-ins with police for stealing and writing bad checks, and authorities said Tuesday they weren't surprised his crimes escalated. They said Burris, paroled in April after serving eight years in a North Carolina prison, should never have been released.
If the recession lingers into next year and county and state revenues keep dropping, that is when he may have to start cutting staff, which could harm the sheriff's office's ability to stop crime and protect people, he said.
Although Whitt, 24, of Ridgeway, pleaded guilty in February to the charges, several people who know him testified Wednesday that his crimes do not reflect the sensitive person he really is.
April 5, 2009
Donâ€™t allow yourself to become a victim - Accent
Self defense starts well before any crime happens, Henry County Deputies Corey Reynolds and Mike Hooper said. It's about not letting yourself be a target in the first place, rather than fighting back after something has happened.
They spoke to an audience of about three dozen March 26 as part of the "Seniors in the Know" program series at the Spencer-Penn Centre.
Our country no longer uses punishment as a deterrent to crime. Criminals such as Bernie Madoff are an example. He was living in a New York penthouse, allegedly hiding his assets while his attorneys plotted his defense. If the prosecutors accept a plea deal, that tells me they are not smart enough to follow a money trail.
March 15, 2009
Jailbird - Accent
Ramses served 10 years hard time in solitary confinement. His crime?
Being a "pet" bird.
He was purchased by a young man and was enjoyed by the man and his parents for a little while, but soon Ramses became boring, or perhaps even a nuisance. By the time I met Ramses, he was stuck in a small cage in the parents' living room.
The beautiful jewel-green Nanday conure always fascinated me, and I'd long to hold him on my finger or play with him. However, the family never let him out of the cage.
More than 30 years ago, Larry Tuttle was found shot to death in American Furniture's Maple Street parking lot. No one was ever charged with the crime.
Now, Tuttle's family hopes DNA evidence will give them some closure in the case.
On Friday, Martinsville Police Chief Mike Rogers confirmed that authorities are working on the case.
February 24, 2009
Drug crimes alleged - News
A Henry County man who pleaded guilty in 2007 to voluntary manslaughter has been indicted on drugs and firearms charges.
Carlos Santana Morris, 32, of Carver Road, Martinsville, was arrested Feb. 17 in connection with the federal indictment, said Brian McGinn, public affairs specialist with the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Western District of Virginia.
A 20-year-old Henry County man was sentenced to 11 years in prison Wednesday for shooting another man last March in a busy parking lot.
Justin Matthew Shrader was sentenced to six years for voluntary manslaughter in the death of Nicholas Hairston, who was 22 when he died on March 22. Shrader was sentenced to an additional three years for using a firearm when he committed the crime and two years for possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.
For crying out loud, let's leave gun shows alone. Shall we also infringe upon boat shows and car shows. I was never an avid fan of gun shows, but I fail to see what harm they do. I defy anyone to prove to me that gun shows cause crimes to increase. I would like to see some statistics on this, because frankly I believe a statistical case would be impossible to make.
The Bureau of Alcohol and Firearms says that gun shows are the second leading source of guns used in crimes in America.
There are approximately 5,000 gun shows in the United States each year, and in 35 states, including Virginia, anyone "” even a felon "” can buy a gun without a background check from private, unlicensed sellers.
More than 87 percent of Americans support closing the gun show loophole. Also, 83 percent of gun owners are in favor of closing the loophole on background checks.
After programs in the schools on Tuesday, a crowd estimated at 800 to 1,000 people turned out for the Wednesday night sessions on issues related to negative behavior, such as bullying, drug crimes and teen pregnancy. The turnout was astounding, considering that school officials had expected between 150 and 300 people.
Judge tells youth of tough penalties for criminal acts
Many people who sell illegal drugs do not realize the harshness of prison sentences they will face if they are convicted, a federal judge told eighth-graders at Martinsville Middle School on Tuesday.
Roanoke-based Magistrate Judge Michael F. Urbanski said he frequently has sentenced people from Henry County and Martinsville for drug crimes, mostly involving crack cocaine, he said.
December 18, 2008
Short case to be focus of television program - News
Local, state, North Carolina and federal authorities recently finished taping a television show about the 2002 Short family slayings, which remain Henry County's most high-profile unsolved crime.
"We hope to expand the coverage area and generate more leads," Henry County Sheriff Lane Perry said Wednesday.
December 16, 2008
MZM's Wade sentenced to 2 1/2 years - News
A federal judge on Monday sentenced former MZM CEO Mitchell Wade to two and a half years in prison for crimes including the bribery of a California congressman and illegal campaign contributions to two others, among them 5th District U.S. Rep. Virgil Goode Jr.
U.S. District Judge Ricardo Urbina sentenced Wade to 30 months in prison and a $250,000 fine. Prosecutors had recommended four years in prison and a steep fine.
People are still talking about discrimination against race. God made us all. It is the year 2008 going into 2009; we all need to stop the madness when it comes down to this. The discrimination I want to talk about is against convicts. Not the hardened criminals who have murdered someone or molested someone, etc. But those who were accessory to the crime, those who get into fights and violate probation.
I'm writing because I'm scared to death at what's happening to my country. We have the greatest country. We have the greatest country in the world, yet we're willing to set back and watch our children killing each other; crime is up, and it's as though no one cares.
December 3, 2008
Feds urge prison term for MZM's Wade - News
Federal prosecutors have asked a judge to sentence former MZM CEO Mitchell Wade to 48 months in prison for crimes including the bribery of a California congressman and illegal campaign contributions to two others, among them 5th District U.S. Rep. Virgil Goode Jr.
November 21, 2008
Attorney general hopeful visits city - News
Dave Foster, a lawyer from Northern Virginia who is seeking the Republican nomination for attorney general, pledged Thursday to crack down on Internet crimes and election fraud if he is elected next year.
After making a formal announcement Wednesday in Richmond, Foster traveled to Martinsville on Thursday to announce his candidacy. It was one of several areas he planned to visit.
Two Maryland men will spend the next 10 years in prison for robbing a Collinsville gun store, but recovering all the weapons they took might take even longer.
Timothy Jackson Jr. of Upper Marlboro, Md., and Ronald Ganeous of Bladensburg, Md., were sentenced Tuesday to 10 years in federal prison for the Nov. 13, 2007, robbery of Southern Gun. Both had entered guilty pleas to Hobbs Act robbery and possessing a firearm in relation to a violent crime.
November 17, 2008
Safety tips offered as crime reports rise - News
With some property crimes on the rise in Henry County and a scam reported at some businesses in Martinsville, authorities said residents can arm themselves with no-nonsense, cost-free tools to help ensure they will not become victims.
Henry County Sheriff Lane Perry advised residents to "be alert and more conscious of your surroundings, and if you see anything suspicious," call 911.
November 13, 2008
Increasing calls stretch police - News
An increased number of calls to the Henry County Sheriff's Office is a factor in the dismissal of some court cases, as overworked officers may lack the time to conduct follow-up investigations, court and police officials said.
Henry County Commonwealth's Attorney Bob Bushnell recently told the Henry County Board of Supervisors that judges are dismissing some court cases involving violent crimes because law enforcement officers have not done enough work on the cases.
In her letter of Oct. 29, Cherron Lampkins of Raleigh, N.C., makes the sweeping statement, "The last time I checked, crime was up in Martinsville "¦" Exactly when, Lampkins, was the last time you checked? With whom did you check? Over what time period did you check? Let me be so presumptuous as to answer those questions for you: Never. Nobody. None.
October 28, 2008
Cash drawer, clothing recovered after robbery - News
Police have recovered a cash register drawer and clothing believed to have been worn by a man who robbed a Chatham Heights convenience store Sunday night, and they hope the public can help solve the crime.
Henry County Sheriff's Lt. Kimmy Nester said city and county officers searched the area around BG's Express on Old Chatham Road after the incident, which began around 8:49 p.m. Officers recovered the cash register drawer, which was taken from the store, on the roadside near Foxtree Apartments, he said.
October 9, 2008
Speaker: Identity theft risks can be cut - News
Being careful about revealing personal information and keeping a close eye on your credit report can reduce the risk of someone stealing your identity, an official with the Virginia Attorney General's office said Wednesday.
That was the advice offered by Gene Fishel, senior assistant attorney general and chief of the computer crime section, during an identity theft seminar sponsored by Martinsville DuPont Credit Union on Wednesday night at Patrick Henry Community College.
September 25, 2008
FBI: Vehicle may be tied to Shorts - News
Authorities investigating the 2002 shooting deaths of the Short family in Henry County have "identified a possible vehicle associated with" the crime.
According to an update on an FBI Web site on the Short slayings, the investigation "has identified a possible vehicle associated with this crime. Information is being sought to further identify this vehicle."�
Henry County Sheriff's Sgt. Curtis Spence said details on the type of vehicle, why investigators think it may be tied to the six-year-old triple homicide and other aspects are not available.
I read with interest the article and letter about former officer David King. I think that his apology is a day late and given his former profession should not have been necessary in the first place. In his letter, he speaks of the hardship faced by his family and himself. Well guess what? You do the crime you should be man/woman enough to do the time.
I try not to be bitter when I see letters and articles such as this one, but it's a hard pill to swallow at times. My son was recently released after seven years. I saw parts of Virginia I didn't want to see. King knew the consequences when he did what he did. I know firsthand what he speaks of when he says the family suffers as well.
Eddie Lee "Shanghai" Thomas, who was convicted in the 1974 murders of Sallie Aliff and her four children in what has been called the most heinous crime in the county, died in April while still in prison.
Thomas was 67 when he died on April 23, 2008, according to Larry Traylor of the Virginia Department of Corrections. The cause of death was metastatic cancer, a spokesman for the State Medical Examiner's Office in Richmond said.
Community members and relatives of the slain Short family gathered Monday evening at a rally to fast and pray that the crime will be solved.
The rally, held in Oak Level across from the former home of Michael, Mary and Jennifer Short on U.S. 220, marked the start of a three-day fast that will end at 7 p.m. Thursday. The Rev. Donald "Whitey" Taylor of Church 180 Turn or Burn in Calloway called on the community to use the power of faith to help find those responsible for the slayings.
Teams of elite law enforcement officers fanned out in the predawn darkness Wednesday to execute three search warrants and search for a man recently indicted on federal charges.
Louis "Duke" Watkins, 59, of Axton, was among 10 people charged in a round of federal indictments that ranged from distribution of more than 50 grams of crack cocaine to possessing a firearm during a drug trafficking crime. Watkins has been charged with distributing 50 grams or more of crack cocaine, according to court records.
State, federal and local authorities hope a reward of nearly $70,000 will jog a memory and provide information that will lead to a conviction in the six-year-old Short triple homicide.
"This is a different type of crime," Henry County Sheriff Lane Perry said Friday at the announcement which coincided with the anniversary of the shooting deaths of Michael and Mary Short and their daughter, Jennifer Short, 9.
Domestic and/or drug related murders "are bad enough, but this involved a child. ... It's worse," Perry said.
Hundreds of Martinsville residents banded together Tuesday at anti-crime block parties during National Night Out.
The events, held at five locations across the city, were meant to bolster community spirit and unite people against crime in their neighborhoods.
Officer Coretha Gravely of the Martinsville Police Department's COPs (Community Oriented Police) Unit said she thought the block parties accomplished these goals.
"As police officers, we can't be everywhere at one time," Gravely said. "We need help from people reporting crimes and watching out for their neighbors."
August 3, 2008
National Night Out is Tuesday - News
Tuesday is National Night Out, an annual nationwide event that celebrates community spirit and sends a warning to criminals that residents are watching for them.
While National Night Out started as a vigil to deter criminals, the event also has become a sort of festival to bring neighbors together while still keeping an eye out for suspicious behavior. The night also encourages people to join anticrime and Neighborhood Watch programs, and it helps foster partnerships between police and residents.
According to recent news reports, the U.S. oil companies have drilling rights on approximately 60 million acres of leased federal land.
Mr. Chris S. Koumparakis' letter of July 21, titled "Drill now, drill deep for oil," seems to suggest that the Democratic leaders in the Senate and the House of Representatives are preventing these companies from drilling, which will result in an increase in robberies, murders, starvation, bankruptcies and crime in general so severe that it is unimaginable today. These predictions sound a lot like gloom and doom scare tactics.
July 22, 2008
Two plead guilty in robbery of Southern Gun - News
DANVILLE "” When they pleaded guilty Monday to robbing a Collinsville gun store, two Maryland men put their fates in the hands of Martinsville Judge Jackson L. Kiser, who will determine their sentences.
Timothy Jackson Jr. and Ronald Ganeous, both 23, pleaded guilty to one count of Hobbs Act robbery and one count of possessing a firearm in relation to a violent crime in connection with the November robbery of Southern Gun Inc. The Hobbs Act prohibits robbery that affects interstate commerce.
DANVILLE - Two men pleaded guilty Monday morning to charges in the November robbery of a Collinsville gun store.
Ronald Ganeous, 23, of Bladensburg, Md., and Timothy Oliver Jackson Jr., 23, of Upper Marlboro, Md., both pleaded guilty to robbery and use of a firearm in commission of a violent crime. Charges of possessing stolen firearms against both men were dismissed.
Two men charged in connection with the November robbery of a Collinsville gun store are scheduled to plead guilty on Monday, court records show.
Ronald Ganeous, 22, of Bladensburg, Md., and Timothy Oliver Jackson Jr., 23, of Upper Marlboro, Md., were charged with robbery, using a firearm while committing a violent crime and possessing a stolen firearm in connection with the robbery at Southern Gun Inc. on Virginia Avenue.
I, and I hope many Americans, are sickened and horrified by the attack on the peaceful and innocent people living in a religious community in El Dorado, Texas. No crimes have been discovered; the original informant is not to be found. Now, children over the age of five, already living in makeshift shelters are being separated from their mothers.
I feel that there are not many jobs, illegal immigrants, people that can't get their disability, people that don't have enough money value in their food stamps, and not enough high paying jobs for Americans in all 50 states and all cities. What we need is tax credit for companies that stay in America. We also need the death penalty in America for good because there's too much crimes and drugs in America.
March 21, 2008
Officials dislike gun ban - News
Regardless of how the Supreme Court rules on the constitutionality of Washington, D.C.'s handgun ban, four local law enforcement officials do not think gun bans deter crime.
"I think it's absolutely insane to think that we can take away a citizen's right to (have guns) and that is somehow going to make this country a safer place to live," said Martinsville Police Chief Mike Rogers.
Martinsville City Council plans to start the paperwork needed to declare several residences on Greyson Street public nuisances so whoever is responsible for them can be forced to improve conditions there.
Council members made that decision informally during a community meeting Tuesday night at McCabe Memorial Baptist Church on Clearview Drive after some Northside residents complained about the structures and problems with crime and noise in the neighborhood.
RICHMOND (AP) "” The heartbroken families of the Virginia Tech shooting victims suffered a second and probably final legislative defeat Wednesday in their bid to prevent criminals and the mentally ill from buying firearms at gun shows.
The Courts of Justice Committee voted 9-6 Wednesday to reject legislation closing the so-called gun-show loophole, then sent the measure to the Virginia State crime Commission for a year of study. Because a House committee last week rejected similar legislation, the issue appears to be dead for this General Assembly session.
State Sen. Roscoe Reynolds, D-Ridgeway, voted against the bill. He could not be reached for comment Wednesday evening.
Local lawmakers plan to introduce varied legislation
When the 2008 General Assembly session begins Wednesday, local legislators plan to introduce bills to address issues ranging from public officials charged with crimes and abusive driver fees to Virginia Employment Commission cuts.
Del. Danny Marshall, R-Danville, plans to introduce two bills that resulted in part from situations in Henry County and Martinsville.
I know this time of year is really rough for people at Christmas. But this is about a sorry individual who went to the graveyard and stole a small Christmas tree off the grave of Willie Gregory. His daughter, Mildred "Meme" Gregory, is a very good friend of mine. Her stepmom called her to tell her it was gone.
There are two issues which will infuse the '08 presidential election. The candidates will try to avoid them, but these two issues will not go away. They are abortion and immigration. Abortion is the destruction of the unborn infant. It is an abomination. And immigration, when done illegally, is a serious crime.
The time has come for our county to make a change for the better. As a community that has struggled with excessive unemployment and corruption within the local sheriff's office, we need to make our county known for something better.
November 1, 2007
Witnesses testify on scandal - News
ROANOKE "” A parade of witnesses testified for and against former Henry County Sheriff's Office sergeant Robert Adams during the second day of his corruption trial Wednesday.
Adams' trial in U.S. District Court on charges of accessory after the fact; withholding information of a crime; tampering with a witness, victim or informant; obstruction of an FBI proceeding; and two counts of making a false statement to the FBI began Tuesday and is expected to continue for at least one more day.
"Just because I lost the first election four years ago, it did not change my mind" about seeking the sheriff's post, he said. "Within a few days of the election, I determined that yes, I would run again."�
Buck hits car, front door of city police department
The Martinsville Police Department was the victim of a crime on Wednesday and is seeking a four-legged suspect with a white tail in the case.
About 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, a deer struck a car driving through the department's parking lot, hitting its windshield, according to Officer Richard Barrow.
The deer became disoriented and when it got back on its feet, it ran across the lot, smack into the front door of the police department, Barrow said. It then ran through some bushes, headed for Fayette Street.
Young women, ages 16 to 24, experience the highest rate of domestic violence "” 16 per 1,000 women, according to the coalition.
Abuse takes many forms and often escalates, officials said.
Following is a list of signs and behaviors that may be present in abusive relationships. The list was compiled by The National Center for Victims of crimes.
September 26, 2007
Alliance backed on immigration - News
The Henry County Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to participate in a coalition that seeks to make the General Assembly aware of what illegal immigration costs localities.
Culpeper County passed a resolution Aug. 7 that says illegal aliens cause an increased burden on county services, increased costs to the county and increased crime.
The board has received a request from Culpeper County to endorse a resolution passed there Aug. 7 that says illegal aliens may cause an increased burden on county services, increased costs to the county and an increase in crime.
September 19, 2007
Perry: Changes working - News
A new investigative grand jury will give county officers another tool in their arsenal to fight crime, according to incumbent Henry County Sheriff Lane Perry.
The special investigative grand jury is expected to convene in the near future, and it will hold crime suspects more accountable because it "can compel people to tell information that they may not" share otherwise, Perry said.
If the grand jury believes someone is lying or hindering an investigation, it can indict that person on whatever charges it deems appropriate, he said.
In the wake of former Henry County sheriff Frank Cassell's sentencing, a local legislator and two state House candidates have proposed legislation that would prevent elected officials convicted of crimes from receiving state pensions.
Del. Ward Armstrong, D-Collinsville, said that since Cassell was sentenced last week, a number of people have asked him about the former sheriff's pension. Armstrong told them that because Cassell already is retired, he should receive the whole thing regardless of the circumstances of his exit from office.
Virginia Retirement System (VRS) officials have verified that.
"Most of the people I've talked to were pretty upset about that," Armstrong said Monday.
After proclaiming his "deep contrition" before Judge James Turk in federal court on Tuesday, Mr. Cassell was sentenced to eight months in prison, a $15,000 fine and two years of probation. This is his punishment for lying to an FBI agent investigating corruption in the Henry County Sheriff's Office.
The U.S. Attorney's Office has asked that former Henry County sheriff Frank Cassell receive a "significant and lengthy" sentence at his sentencing Sept. 11.
According to a motion filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Roanoke, federal sentencing guidelines recommend that Cassell receive between six and 12 months in prison for the crime to which he pleaded guilty on May 23.
The National Night Out was billed to be a stand against crime, a banding together of the citizens of the community. If that was the intent of the event in Collinsville, then I am truly baffled by their approach and left wondering exactly what message those in attendance left with.
August 8, 2007
National Night Out celebrated - News
Tuesday's National Night Out anti-crime events in Henry County and Martinsville resembled family reunions, said law officers and residents alike.
At Baldwin Park in Martinsville, the Rev. Dwight Mack asked the blessing before the meal got under way, praying for those "gathered together as a family ... a community."�
Looking out over the crowd gathered at the First Baptist Church of Collinsville, Henry County Sheriff's Maj. Steve Eanes made a similar comment.
That is when the area will observe National Night Out, a worldwide event designed to deter crime by helping people get to know their neighbors and the police. That way, people will be more apt to report any suspicious activity they see.
August 6, 2007
National Night Out is Tuesday - News
The Henry County Sheriff's Office, the Martinsville Police Department, Neighborhood Watch groups, churches and other civic groups will be teaming up for the local National Night Out observance from 6-8 p.m. Tuesday, officials said.
"The purpose is to make folks aware of crime in the community and National Night Out Against Crime, neighborhoods coming together (to show) they're not going to tolerate crime in their neighborhood. It's also to help build relationships between the police department and the citizens we police," said Capt. Eddie Cassady of the Martinsville Police Department.
National Night Out is a worldwide event designed to deter crime by helping people get to know their neighbors and the police. That way, people will be more apt to report any suspicious activity they see, officials have said.
This year's event will be held from 6-8 p.m. Aug. 7. District-wide events will be held in Henry County, while neighborhood observances are planned in Martinsville, local chief law enforcement officials announced Monday.
The purpose, officials said, is to help people get to know their neighbors and the police. That way, people will be more apt to help others prevent crime, as well as report any suspicious activity they see.
The program is designed to place people who are convicted of crimes on probation, provided that they clean an assigned part of a highway.
"Generally a judge will assign a person to clean one of the major in-roads into Henry County or one of the access roads leading to one of the green-box convenience centers," said Williams.
May 9, 2007
Patrick prosecutor to seek re-election - News
Chris Corbett, Patrick County's commonwealth's attorney since 1996, formally announced Tuesday that he intends to seek re-election to the post in the Nov. 6 election.
"The team we have in the commonwealth's attorney's office has a well earned reputation, both inside and outside Patrick County, for providing firm, fair and effective prosecution," Corbett said in a written statement. "I think we have demonstrated our ability throughout the years to represent the commonwealth's interests while being sensitive to the concerns of crime victims, witnesses, judges, clerks, magistrates, the law enforcement community and all those impacted by the criminal justice system.
April 22-28, 2007, is National crime Victims' Rights Week. Please take this opportunity to honor, remember and reach out to the victims and the families of the victims who suffered because of the criminal act committed at Virginia Tech on Monday, April 16.
Weidl, director of tennis at Chatmoss Country Club, found himself in court last week after his neighbor, David Zwadyk, accused Turtle of biting his cat, Oreo. The alleged catfight took place around Thanksgiving in Zwadyk's yard in Greensboro, N.C.
But the courtroom Weidl and Zwadyk appeared in last week was part of a different reality: Reality television.
"He wanted to take me on, on TV, so I said "˜You got it,'" Weidl recalled.
Police Officer Coretha Gravely and Investigator Donn Shumate presented Hopkins the award at Tuesday night's Martinsville City Council meeting.
"We greatly appreciate what you have done," Police Chief Mike Rogers told Hopkins. He said that he hopes the recognition will increase publicity for the Neighborhood Watch program and encourage people to participate.
Ben Rea had been in his post overseeing evidence at the Henry County Sheriff's Office less than two weeks when federal indictments were handed down alleging money laundering, firearms offenses, drug charges and other crimes by some office employees.
Rather than becoming disenchanted about the alleged corruption, Rea, the department's administrative corporal, picked up the challenge to overhaul procedures for evidence and property seized by deputies and investigators.
It is an unfortunate tradition at this time of year, according to sheriffâ€™s officers
The Martinsville-Henry County SPCA is one of the latest victims of a rising number of break-ins in Henry County since mid-November, according to a sheriff's official.
"This time of year we get swamped" with both commercial and residential break-ins, said Henry County Sheriff's Sgt. Curtis Spence. Shoplifting also is on the rise, he said, but he could not say if any of the increases in crime are related to the holiday season.
Details of process to be clarified at board meeting
The Henry County Board of Supervisors will discuss what would be involved in creating a county police department at its Tuesday afternoon meeting.
A police department would be headed by an appointed police chief and investigate crimes. Administrative duties, such as serving papers and jail management, still would be be left to an elected sheriff's office.
Local lawmakers are taking a cautious approach to the idea that legislation be drafted to give counties more options when a constitutional officer is charged with a crime.
They say the topic is a difficult one and all ramifications must be carefully weighed.
According to Henry County Board of Supervisors Chairman H.G. Vaughn, the board recently asked the Virginia Association of Counties to put legislation on its agenda to give counties more ability to make sure agencies are properly run when a constitutional officer is charged. The issue came up after H. Frank Cassell was indicted on felony charges and placed himself on leave, but did not resign. Ultimately, he retired.
There are three options facing Henry County as a result of Sheriff H. Frank Cassell's decision to take a leave from his office rather than resign while his federal charges work their way through court, according to Commonwealth's Attorney Bob Bushnell:
"¢ The status quo can be maintained, with Capt. Lane Perry in charge and the office "responding to calls and solving crimes," Bushnell said. The department, he said, "is not as effective as it could be if it had an engaged sheriff but it is doing an extraordinary job, particularly under these circumstances."�
"¢ Cassell could resign.
"¢ County residents could petition the court for removal of the sheriff.
August 2, 2006
Locals 'bite' into crime - News
Area residents on Tuesday came out in droves to help take a bite out of local crime. And Martinsville's Derek Davis said it tasted delicious.
"This hot dog is slamming," Davis said of his chili-smothered treat, one of thousands consumed by the crowds who flocked to the county's Jack Dalton Park and the city's Farmers' Market parking lot for the localities' annual National Night Out celebrations.
In addition to food, the events, which are put on by local law enforcement agencies, featured carnival-style rides, music, face painting, balloons and a laid-back, family-friendly atmosphere.
Ten years later, it is called a model for citizen action.
"You, my friends, have been an inspired people,"? Iriswood District Supervisor Paula Burnette told about 75 residents and guests at the 13th annual banquet of the Concerned Citizens, held recently at St. John's Baptist Church in Sandy Level.
Sandy Level gained the kind of national attention a community doesn't want when it was featured in U.S. News & World Report's April 22, 1996, issue.
That article portrayed Sandy Level as a rural area rife with drugs and related crimes, a place where no outsider wanted to visit and no resident wanted to get involved for fear of a reprisal from the gun-toting thugs in control.
May 10, 2006
Clues sought in abduction - News
Henry County Sheriff's investigators say they do not believe they are being told the whole story in connection with the Sunday abduction, malicious wounding and robbery of two local residents.
Some witnesses and others with knowledge of the incident "are probably not being truthful as to the motive" and other information related to the crime, Henry County Sheriff's Lt. Lane Perry said of an incident which began late Sunday night.
August 3, 2005
Residents unify to fight crime - News
There was no shortage of food, folks and fun at the city and county National Night Out celebrations Tuesday night. Children and adults poured into both carnival-flavored events to enjoy rides, eat and listen to music.
But in enjoying themselves they were also taking a symbolic stand against crime in their communities and educating themselves about local law enforcement, Neighborhood Watch and other programs.
Lisa Thomas' family did not want to see her husband put to death for killing her, one of her brothers said Friday.
Maverick Thomas, 36, was convicted of capital murder for hiring a teenager to kill his wife nearly five years ago. On Friday, he received a life sentence for the crime.
July 14, 2005
Database keeps tabs on sex offenders - News
The case of a convicted sex offender who allegedly staked out an Idaho home before killing three people and kidnapping two children has raised awareness of how such offenders are handled in other states.
In Virginia, the Sex Offender and crimes Against Minors Registry is manned by the Virginia State Police and can be searched on the Internet to see if offenders live nearby.
Tuesday will mark the 16th anniversary of the day when Conrad, then-Martinsville Social Services director, was attacked in a city juvenile and domestic relations courtroom by a woman being led from the room by a city sheriff's deputy following a trial on a misdemeanor charge.
December 22, 2004
Police use of cyberspace to solve crimes increasing - News
The image of a police investigator in thick glasses and lab coat huddled over a computer is not likely to replace that of the weather-beaten detective doggedly pursuing his man. But the undercover computer whiz is rapidly making his mark.
The pervasiveness of computers in society has made it mandatory for law enforcement to beef up its skills handling digital encryptions, codes and records on hard drives and in cyberspace, said Martinsville police investigator Marshall Farley.
December 17, 2004
Two men sentenced on fed drug charges - News
Two local men have been sentenced in federal court in connection with drug cases, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Western District of Virginia announced Thursday.
Juan Pablo Alvarado-Acosta, 26, of 27 Colony Trace Drive, Collinsville, recently was sentenced to 12 years and four months in federal prison for his role in a scheme to distribute large quantities of marijuana and cocaine, and for possessing a firearm in relation to a drug trafficking crime, said Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew Bassford.
Officials in two localities with off-track betting parlors say Colonial Downs is a good corporate citizen which generates tax revenue, not crime and problem gamblers.
Colonial Downs runs a racetrack and six betting parlors around the state, with a seventh due to open next month in Vinton. It is the only company licensed by the state to operate a pari-mutuel betting business.
August 4, 2004
City, county events draw thousands - News
Thousands of Henry County and Martinsville residents came together Tuesday night to show they are not going to let crime infiltrate their neighborhoods
During separate National Night Out events at Jack Dalton Park near Collinsville and the Broad Street parking lot in uptown Martinsville, visitors enjoyed free food, drinks and leisure activities, talked with friends and neighbors and met local law-enforcement officers.
Billy Gene Stoneman, 45, of South Moss Street, rocked and swiveled in the defendant's chair in Martinsville Circuit Court before hearing Judge Charles Stone's ruling. Stoneman pleaded guilty in June to one count each of crimes against nature, taking indecent liberties with a minor, possession of child pornography and production of child pornography.
July 20, 2004
Dozens indicted in county - News
A Rocky Mount man was indicted Monday by a Henry County grand jury in connection with a sex crime involving a juvenile.
Christopher Lee Wilson, 25, of 30 Iceberg Lane, was indicted on one count of carnal knowledge of a child 13 or older, but younger than 15, according to court records.
Martinsville's Night Out event, to be held uptown from 6-9 p.m., will concentrate more on crime prevention and less on entertainment than in years past -- although there still will be plenty of fun things for visitors to do, according to organizers.
The Martinsville Police Department is looking for a city man facing child molestation charges.
Corinthian Lee McKenzie, 35, of 1015 Griggs Road, Martinsville, is being sought on warrants charging him with crimes against nature, forcible sodomy and taking indecent liberties with children, according to a city release.
October 27, 2003
Hubbard stands on his record - News
Incumbent Patrick County Sheriff David Hubbard is running on a record that includes a crime resolution rate above the state average for seven of his eight years in office and an emphasis on community service.
Since taking office in 1996, "every year except that year, our clearance rates have been up," Hubbard said.
October 26, 2003
Judge Greenwalt lays down his gavel - News
Serving as a general district court judge for 25 years, Frank Greenwalt has learned a lot about why people do the things they do, both good and bad.
"Part of this job is to understand the entire situation" surrounding crimes and disputes, he said.
October 23, 2003
Seniors schooled on scams - News
The message delivered on Wednesday by Kathi Lee was simple, direct and to the point: Residents, beware.
"Fraud is a crime," Lee told her audience during the annual fall kickoff program for Seniors And Law enforcement Together (SALT). "Some of the people who visit, call or are online are criminals. Check out charities before writing a check, and if fraud happens, report it. You can't trust anyone."
September 25, 2003
Hairston trial under way - News
"If stupidity was a crime, my client should get 20 years," but Albert Bowman is not guilty of the 2002 shooting death of Martinsville High School track athlete Delvin Hairston, public defender Ward Armstrong told a jury on Wednesday.
Likewise, Marcus Lampkins' only guilt in connection with the shooting is "immaturity," Lampkins' attorney, Perry Harrold, told the Martinsville Circuit Court jury.
According to a FBI spokesman's latest figures, about 37 percent of the murders committed in this country in 2001 went unsolved, a number which rises dramatically if the crime is not solved within the first month.
August 6, 2003
Parties bring police, residents together - News
If the purpose of National Night Out is to strengthen the partnership between police and the community, then those bonds never looked stronger than on Tuesday evening.
Henry County deputies and Martinsville officers, government and constitutional officials, civic agency representatives and others let their hair down Tuesday evening to dole out hot dogs, cotton candy, amusement rides and goodwill to the 8,000 or so county and city residents who turned out to Jack Dalton Park and Broad Street parking lot for the crime- and drug-prevention event.
May 7, 2003
State lab speeds up work on evidence in Short case - News
The state crime lab in Roanoke has taken steps to speed the testing of forensic evidence in the shooting deaths of Mary and Michael Short and the abduction and slaying of their daughter, Jennifer, according to Henry County Sheriff's Capt. Kimmy Nester.
But the scene at the intersection of Market and Bridge streets around 4 p.m. Thursday was neither. It was a training session, held to teach police officers how to direct traffic.
March 11, 2003
Area police say crimestoppers stops crime - News crimestoppers locally receives more than 100 calls each year and gives out thousands of dollars in reward money, but does the organization actually live up to its name by stopping crime? Area law enforcement officials think so.
The Crimestoppers' coordinator for the Henry County Sheriff's Office, Sgt. David King, pointed to the Crimestoppers 2002 compilation report as evidence, noting that 13 arrests were made in Martinsville and Henry County through Crimestoppers last year, including three homicides.
The Henry County Sheriff's Office is taking this approach to housekeeping next Friday, auctioning off 102 unclaimed firearms taking up space in its evidence vault.
In an advertisement in Friday's Martinsville Bulletin, the sheriff's office listed 102 unclaimed guns, many of them confiscated in crimes that it will attempt to return to their rightful owners between 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. Friday at the Henry County Sheriff's Office.
"I am committed to reducing crime and making the community a safer place to live," McPeek said Wednesday in announcing his candidacy. "I support responsible, effective, proactive law enforcement and feel certain that together we can make a difference."
The lack of evidence in the Short family slayings has led a criminal justice professor to speculate that an experienced killer committed the crimes.
There's "a good chance that they had done it before. (Killers) refine their techniques ... they read about what the police are doing. Most of the time, they get better at what they do," said William Jamison, assistant professor of criminal justice and head of the Department of the Administration of Justice at Patrick Henry Community College (PHCC).
About 150 motorcycle riders from across the Piedmont-- some with the gruff exteriors of bikers and others with the polished boots and pressed uniforms of police officers -- left a Market Street parking lot about 2 p.m. Sunday to raise the crimestopper's reward pot for information about Jennifer Short. The Figsboro Elementary School student has been missing since Aug. 15, after her parents were found shot to death in their home on U.S. 220 near the Franklin County line.
Tuesday night, large crowds filled Jack Dalton Park off Kings Mountain Road and the Broad Street parking lot uptown, the respective sites of the county's and city's events. People took advantage of free food, children's rides and games, car shows, displays by community organizations and many other activities.
July 19, 2002
Fur flies when spit hits officer - News
When someone spits on the sidewalk, it's considered disgusting. When they spit on a police officer, it's considered a crime.
On Saturday, Henry County Sheriff's Office Deputy D.W. Davis reported being spit on in two separate incidents. The day before, sheriff's investigator E.H. Painter reported he was spat on while taking a suspect to the magistrate's office.
Although a neighborhood revitalization project is almost finished, Martinsville officials still are trying to make the area surrounding Moss and Barton streets a nicer place to live.
Tucked in the hills near Memorial Boulevard and Market and Bridge and Church streets, the Moss/Barton district is an older neighborhood that once was among the city's nicest. But in recent years, run-down houses and crime significantly had lowered the neighborhood's quality of life, according to officials.
July 7, 2002
crime Night Out set Aug. 6 - News
This year's National Night Out Against crime observance in Martinsville will be held from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Aug. 6 in the Broad Street parking lot uptown.
Martinsville Sheriff Steve Draper said the carnival-like event was trimmed by one hour this year because during the past two years, many people left before activities were over.
The Martinsville Police Department obtained a warrant alleging first-degree murder for Donatus Voil Hilton, 49, on Thursday.
"We've put him in the National crime Information Network, but I'm hoping he will turn himself in," said Police Chief Mike Rogers, as the search for Hilton stretched to five days.
May 22, 2002
Adult trial sought - News
The Martinsville Commonwealth's Attorney's Office wants a 17-year-old Laurel Park student, charged in the death of Martinsville High School senior Delvin Hairston, to be tried as an adult.
If Christopher Wilson's case is transferred to circuit court, as the commonwealth's attorney's office has requested, he would be tried as an adult and face the same penalties as an adult if he is convicted of the crimes.
For those convicted of crimes and involved in the Electronic Incarceration Programs (EIP) in Martinsville and Henry County, the cost of freedom is $25 for the hookup and $10 a day.
May 8, 2002
Two cases resolved in party shootout - News
The sentence for one man convicted in the Horsepasture Ruritan Building shootout was brought into line with the law Tuesday, and the man he shot was ordered to serve the mandatory minimum sentence for his crime.
After Tuesday's hearings in Henry County Circuit Court, all of the prosecutions that resulted from the Aug. 10 melee at the Horsepasture Ruritan Building have been concluded, with the exception of one remaining sentencing.
In a series of workshops Monday at Martinsville High School, CAFV taught ninth- through 12th-graders about the dynamics of crimes of violence and how those crimes can be prevented. The workshops were co-sponsored by the high school and the Henry County Sheriff's Office.
The most current crime rate figures are two years old. But county Sheriff H. Frank Cassell sees the jail population increasing and Commonwealth's Attorney Bob Bushnell sees his caseload increasing.
March 28, 2002
Nester recalls the 'worst' day - News
Henry County Sheriff's Capt. Kimmy Nester has been a county law officer for more than two decades and worked nearly every major crime in the county in that time. But nothing compared with his experience Tuesday.
"It ranks as one of the worst situations you have to deal with on a personal level," he said of the search for Henry County Administrator Sid Clower and diffusing Clower's suicide threat. "The only worst thing would to be faced with a family member."
December 18, 2001
Weapon permits on rise in county - News
The number of concealed weapon permits issued in Henry County has tripled since the Sept. 11 attacks, while Martinsville's rate has stagnated.
Some people attribute the increase in new and renewed permits to numerous violent crimes in recent months, while others attribute it to a heightened sense of fear brought on by the Sept. 11 attacks on New York and Washington, D.C.
September 23, 2001
Assaults on officers on increase - News
Dwayne Edward Cunningham faces 10 years in prison, in part for punching one police officer and kicking another. Trevor Marquise Dalton is looking at five more years added to his already 13 1/2-years in prison for throwing an unknown substance into an officer's face.
They are two of the recent cases of assaults on police officers. It is a crime that seems to be happening more and more frequently, despite the fact that the charge is a felony and it carries a mandatory minimum six-month jail sentence.
August 23, 2001
Officers go to new heights - News
Henry County Sheriff's investigators Wednesday got a bird's eye view of the Horsepasture Ruritan building, the scene of a fatal shooting.
Investigators C.E. Spence and J.E. Mason climbed to the top of a Collinsville Volunteer Fire Department ladder truck so they could take aerial photographs of the crime scene.
August 9, 2001
Kilgore, GOP ticket get Goode's nod - News
Under a scorching afternoon sun in uptown Martinsville, Republican attorney general candidate Jerry Kilgore on Wednesday got the endorsement of 5th District Rep. Virgil Goode, the independent from Rocky Mount.
Goode said Kilgore understands the job. "He knows what it is to fight crime and to prosecute criminals," the congressman said.
August 8, 2001
Nights out draw crowds - News
Henry County and Martinsville residents gathered Tuesday night to get to know each other, along with local law enforcement officers, in hopes of preventing crime in their communities.
Both the county and city held "National Night Out" observances as part of a nationwide effort. Using carnival-type events, officials hoped to raise awareness of crime and illegal drugs, muster support for crime-fighting efforts, create neighborhood spirit and make criminals aware that communities are organizing to fight crime.
August 1, 2001
Watch group wants more active role - News
Organizers of a new Neighborhood Watch program established in the Piedmont Estates community want it to be more than just a system for reporting crime, according to its director.
The program also will encourage residents to avoid activities that might get them into trouble, said Kevin Younger, who has lived in the community for about six years.
Instead, the Masonic organization should be recognized for its contributions to the community, according to Everington Howell, manager of the non-profit organization.
July 23, 2001
County community aims to fight back - News
Efforts are under way to establish a Neighborhood Watch program in the Piedmont Estates area of Henry County because of a large amount of crime in the neighborhood.
An organizational meeting held recently attracted about 40 people.
July 9, 2001
Sandy Level's comeback - News
Community awareness and police involvement - such as a recent anti-drug operation - have combined to make the Sandy Level area a safer place to live, officials and residents say.
"This will have a drastic impact. The people in the communities don't want the drug involvement," Henry County Sheriff's Office Capt. Kimmy Nester said of last week's operation that charged 11 people with drug-related crimes. "We've got a problem there that always needs addressing. Somebody's always willing to roll the dice."
There are no cases of hate crimes pending in the city of Martinsville, said city Commonwealth's Attorney Joan Ziglar, who participated in the Hate Crimes Education and Awareness Workshop at Patrick Henry Ccommunity College.