The week in review

Least surprising firing: Daniel Harmon-Wright, the Culpeper police officer who has been charged with murder in the shooting of unarmed Patricia Cook, 54, in a church parking lot, is dismissed June 19 after police complete an internal affairs review, the Washington Post reports.

Latest Huguely filings: Attorneys for convicted girlfriend-slayer George Huguely file more than 100 pages of documents June 22 supporting earlier motions to set aside his second-degree murder conviction, according to the Progress. His attorneys continue to argue the trial should have been halted for defense lawyer Rhonda Quagliana's stomach flu and dispute Commonweath's Attorney Dave Chapman's claim that she answered her office phone on days she said she was sick. Huguely's team also asserts that seven potential jurors should have been stricken for cause, that the definition given to jurors for "malice" was flawed, and that Chapman failed to inform the defense that Yeardley Love's mother intended to file a civil suit.

Latest guilty plea in National Guard flashlight-theft ring: Raleigh Kenneth Worley, 42, of Gladstone pleads guilty to conspiring to steal government equipment worth more than $1,000. Four other National Guardsmen– John R. Watkins, James T. Creamer, Raleigh L. Anderson, and Michael W. Tutwiler– have pleaded guilty to absconding with weapons-mountable flashlights.

Biggest indictment of a former congressional candidate: A Fluvanna County grand jury indicts Feda Kidd Morton, who ran for the 5th District seat in 2010, for felony election fraud for making false statements on a voter registration form, NBC29 reports June 25.

Biggest embezzler: Sheila Marie Wright, 52, of Lynchburg pleads guilty June 22 to stealing $429,030 from customers of the Bank of the James over nine years by generating fraudulent cashier's checks and using them to liquidate a victim's account. Wright admits to using the money to feed her gambling habit and faces up to 30 years in prison, according to a release.

Biggest reprieve: Former Charlottesville cop Wilbert Davis Brassfield has embezzlement charges temporarily suspended June 22 in Fluvanna because the Commonwealth didn't have all the evidence it wanted, Samantha Koon reports in the Progress. Brassfield is accused of embezzling $10,000 from the Courts of Praise Christian Fellowship in Palmyra, where he served as pastor until 2010, to pay off a delinquent mortgage.

Worst Outer Banks accident: Greg Balsley, 49, son of Statler Brother Phil Balsley, is pulled from the water at Nags Head June 20 and dies at the Outer Banks Hospital, the News Leader reports. Rip currents were reported that morning. Another man swimming with Balsley, Justin Thomas, 21, is expected to make a full recovery.

Worst fall: An 11-month old baby plunging down deck steps and suffering head injuries from landing on a concrete surface June 16 at the 2500-block of Plateau Road leads to an investigation of neglect and child endangerment charges for its mother, Corlandra J. Turner, 20, and for Hope A. Faulkner, 42, the DP reports. The baby is in stable condition.

Worst news for 'Life in Hell' fans: Matt Groening calls it quits on the comic strip he started in 1978 and that launched him to Simpsons fame. The Hook carried the strip until this year.

Best call-in baby delivery: Nelson County dispatchers talk parents through an imminent birth June 11 of an 8 pound, 9-ounce infant, the Nelson County Times reports.

Best appearance of a Hook reporter on Dateline: Courteney Stuart turns up in a two-hour June 22 special on the murder of Justine Swartz Abshire called "Shattered." Since 2006, Stuart has reported extensively on the death of the kindergarten teacher, whose husband Eric Abshire was convicted of her murder in October 2011 and later sentenced to life in prison. 

Best appearance of a Hook freelancer in the Olympic trials: Former UVA track star Stephanie Marie Garcia does well enough in a June 25 steeplechase race in Eugene, Oregon, to go to the finals June 29, where the top three finishers will go to the Olympics next month in London.

1 comment

I could have gone without seeing this article. It makes me sick and want to puck that someone who holds himself out to be a protector of the weak and innocent (a police officer) has committed such a horrific act. A police officer, who we are told from childhood, is our “friend” - “Officer Helpful,” there to protect and serve.” Give me a break! Everyone in the community in which he hired bares the burden of Patricia Cook’s death.
It’s just another example of the validation of my point that those we place into positions of trust and authority are out of touch and have failed miserably at their jobs. Who were the idiots that hired this guy? They’re the ones that need to be held accountable, the mayor, the city council, particularly those rocket scientist in HR that are so wrapped up in their own importance and reputed value they are blinded to reality. Well, you have done it this time you have brought shame and disgrace to yourselves, community, State and Nation. Well done chumps.
I say continue using faulty man made devises upon which you rely on so heavily. Continue serving those who placed you in your positions of trust and authority in this manner and watch what happens to you and cohorts. Continue serving in this reckless manner and living in your own little make believe world, you who have developed such “reliable and foreseeing tools,” to determine the qualifications of a candidate for authority and trust. You who would screw you neighbor “literally and figuratively,” out of wife, home and money. Reflect upon your pitiful souls and ask God for forgiveness. You have failed and failed miserably. The only honorable thing to do is to resigned and let someone who is able to look into the soul a prospective employee and judge accurately the contents of that soul.
I have no doubt that Officer Harmon – Wright will be prosecuted. But it comes too late for Patricia and others who may have been victimized by Officer Harman – Wright, an unconcerned Mayor, Council, and HR department.
I hope Patricia’s survivors files a tort against Officer Wright, the Chief of Police ,the City, the City council, and any one else that bares a scintilla of responsibility. The only way to encourage self reflection by these people is thought their pocket books. “God save us from the idiots of this world.”