4BETTER OR WORSE- The week in review
Worst week for sexual assaults: A UVA student is attacked on Grady Avenue early February 21. Christopher Allen Noakes, 39, is chased and captured by police, and is held without bond. A couple of hours earlier on February 20, James Gardner Dennis is arrested and charged with raping an underage Albemarle female, as well as forcible sodomy, abduction, and enticement of a minor through the use of communications systems.
Longest sentence in area's longest reign of sexual terror: Serial rapist Nathan Antonio Washington is sentenced to four life terms plus 20 additional years February 26 for assaults dating back to 1997. A $55,000 reward is presented February 27 to the person whose information led to Washington's arrest.
Longest counterfeiting conviction: Landy Diaz, 29, and his wife, Letty Mellor, 33, are sentenced to 65 months in prison February 22 for credit card and identity theft after stealing credit card numbers from patrons of two Roanoke restaurants. Mellor worked as a server and swiped cards through a small electronic device that recorded information on the magnetic strip that was used to make counterfeit credit cards and run up thousands of dollars in fraudulent purchases. Two other members of the conspiracy have already pled guilty and are in prison.
Biggest murder trial redux: Jury selection begins February 19 in the second trial of James H. Long Jr. for the March 2005 murder of his ex-wife, Vicki Truax, and her boyfriend, William Browning– who used to be married to Long's girlfriend, Robin Browning, whose red Corvette was used by the couple's murderer. Long was convicted of first-degree murder September 13 in Orange County, but Judge Daniel Bouton reversed the jury's verdict and ordered a new trial because certain exculpatory material was not presented at the trial, according to the Media General News Service. Former Albemarle commonwealth's attorney Jim Camblos is the special prosecutor.
Worst county cop news: Officer Jeffrey Alan Turner is arrested on a February 10 domestic assault allegation and suspended with pay during an internal investigation.
Best expose: Buckingham County Supervisor Joe N. Chambers Jr. owes more than $4,500 in back taxes and penalties, Rob Seal reports in the Daily Progress. Chambers, who has been sued many times for nonpayment of debt, according to Seal, was last in the news in April 2006 when his logging company was sued for cutting timber without permission on 49 acres.
Latest Rick Moore news: The former Albemarle deputy commonwealth's attorney, who was fired after Denise Lunsford was elected in November and is now working in the Charlottesville prosecutor's office, is a candidate for a 16th Circuit judgeship that opened with the retirement of Judge John Cullen of Louisa. Bob Gibson has the story in the DP.
Newest dean: Paul G. Mahoney, 49, takes over the helm of the UVA Law School, succeeding John Jeffries, who steps down as dean this summer.
Fullest: Area reservoirs, for the first time since June 18, 2007. Water reached the top of the Ragged Mountain Dam spillway early February 25, but Rivanna Water and Sewer Authority cautions that area stream flows are less than half of normal for this time of year, and that voluntary conservation under the drought watch remains in effect.
Biggest conservation windfall: Albemarle County receives $403,220 from the state for its ACE– Acquisition of Conservation Easement– program.
Biggest rock-and-roll sob story: A nearly sold-out Van Halen show at John Paul Jones Arena is postponed without explanation to the reunion group's many heartbroken fans.