4BETTER OR WORSE- The week in review
Biggest day in court: Serial rapist Nathan Antonio Washington pleads guilty to four sexual assaults December 10 in Charlottesville Circuit Court and gets four consecutive life sentences, plus another 20 years for breaking and entering the house of another victim, a Webland Avenue woman, who was instrumental in directing police to Washington. [See related story.]
Longest sentence for enticing a minor over the Internet: Former Western Albemarle High social studies teacher Richard Neal Willetts, 26, gets a mandatory minimum of 10 years December 4 for sending graphic emails that suggested a three-way to a former 15-year-old student, but no sexual contact occurred. Rob Seal has the story in the Daily Progress.
Shortest sentence in a murder: Ronald Elson Powell, 40, is sentenced December 4 to two years for perjury for his testimony in the trial of William Franklin Marshall, who was charged with strangling Powell's girlfriend, Azlee Keller Hickman, 18, in a trailer March 13, 2004, according to another Seal story. Although Marshall was charged in the killing, after a mistrial he pleaded guilty to being an accessory to the murder, a misdemeanor, and served one year. Powell was also present the night of the slaying, along with his daughter, Heather Powell. [See related story.]
Most mind-boggling disparity in sentencing: Willetts, who never touched his victim, gets 10 years, while the suspected Hickman murderer gets one year, and former Charlottesville High choir director Jonathan Spivey, who was charged with four counts of custodial indecent liberties and was having sex in the choir room, gets 21 months in prison.
Longest dogfighting sentence: Former Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick gets 23 months in jail and still faces state charges.
Best football team: The Monticello Mustangs crush Richlands High's Blue Tornados 36-22 for the state Group AA Division 3 championship December 8 in Lynchburg.
Wettest: Sprinklers in the UVA Bice House dormitory soak through four floors December 6 and leave 70 students homeless. The flooding was prompted by a shirt left hanging on a sprinkler head, according to the Charlottesville Fire Department, the Daily Progress reports.
Worst state to be a teacher: Virginia public school teachers earn $6,100 less than the national average of $50,816, according to the National Education Association.
Better late than never: Charlottesville High resurrects its Parent Teacher Organization after a 10-year hiatus. Barney Breen-Portnoy has the story in the Progress.
Oldest volunteer: Louis Pinto's last day on the job at the UVA Medical Center is December 4– his 100th birthday, the Newsplex reports, and the hospital dedicates the Louis Pinto Break Room in his honor.
Biggest hola: UVA Spanish prof David Gies receives one of Spain's highest honors, the Order of Isabella the Catholic, for his academic achievement and devotion to promoting Spanish culture, according to UVA Today. Gies gets the award October 11 at the Spanish Embassy.
Most exemplary leadership: Dr. Milton Edgerton and Patricia Jones Edgerton receive the Miller Center's highest award, the Elizabeth Scott Award for Exemplary Leadership, December 6. Dr. Edgerton is professor emeritus of plastic surgery at UVA Medical Center; Patricia Edgerton is the former president of the W. Alton Jones Foundation board of trustees and founder and trustee emeritus of the Blue Moon Fund.
Latest casualty of UVA returning $9.5 million in state funding: The print version of Inside UVA bites the dust December 7 after 36 years, and will henceforth be available only on-line, Brian McNeill reports in the DP.
Best presidential candidate visit: Dennis Kucinich packs Lane Auditorium in the County Office Building December 7.