Charlottesville Breaking News

What do you think of Huguely's sentence?

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Valiant effort: SEALs shine in 'Act of Valor'

Act of Valor contains hard-hitting combat footage, relentless and effective. There is a story behind the film that is no less engrossing. In an introduction at the beginning, its co-directors, Mike McCoy and Scott Waugh, speak directly to the audience, describing how they got involved in a film about the Navy SEALs, how they were embedded with an actual SEAL unit – and how, when that project grew into a fiction film, they determined to use real SEALs and not professional actors.

The early version of the film, according to reporting by Rebecca Keegan of the Los Angeles Times, was variously intended as a training film or recruitment film, and was made outside the usual Department of Defense guidelines for motion pictures. It now emerges as a thriller involving two (non-factual) scenarios, one about a SEAL mission to free a kidnapped CIA operative (Roselyn Sanchez), the other about a plot to smuggle terrorists into the U.S. through tunnels from Mexico constructed by drug cartels.

The details in both of these scenarios seem realistic – although how would I know? The co-directors and their team have produced an accomplish...

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Siips bows out, McClure and his burgers step in

As you might have already heard, Siips Wine & Champagne Bar closed on February 19 after four years on the Downtown Mall. Siips was known for its impressive wine offerings, music, and art events, and creative marketing– they featured celebrity guest bartenders and once held a happy hour for dogs (and their owners) called Yappy Hour to raise money for the SPCA.

Owner George Benford, and his wife, Pat, informed customers via email that they had sold their "beloved" restaurant to a local restauranteur with "big plans for the space." 

That would be Andy McClure and company, owner of such powerhouses as The Virginian, The Biltmore, No.3, and West Main. Although nothing is set in stone yet, a representative of McClure's restaurant group tells the Hook that the new place is tentatively called the Union Burger Bar, and will likely be "upscale, modern, have lots of TVs, hundreds of beers, and have lots of local products."

Of course, all that could change, as plans to open are at least a few months out.  As the restaurant group rep said, "It's very early in the process." Stay tuned.

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Case of cop accused of rape continued

Former County police officer Sean M. Horn, who arrested and charged with rape on January 5, was scheduled to appear in court Monday, February 27, but the preliminary hearing in the case has been rescheduled, again.

Horn, 42, has been charged in an alleged Thanksgiving Day weekend rape in 2011, "accomplished through the use of the victim's mental incapacity or physical helplessness," according to an arrest warrant. Police have said the arrest follows a "thorough investigation."

Because the case is being handled in Albemarle County Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court, and Deputy Commonwealth's Attorney Darby Lowe said that there was an "adult victim" in the alleged rape, it's possible that the victim is a family member.

On January 6, Judge Dwight Johnson granted a motion by the defense to bar media from the bond hearing due to concerns about pre-trial publicity, something Hook legal expert David Heilberg said is "very rarely imposed."

At the time of his arrest, Horn was a Reserve Deputy with the Albemarle County Sheriff's Office. His boss, Albemarle County Sheriff J.E. "Chip" Harding, said the charge made it necessary to decommission Horn, but cautioned people about jumping to conclusions and said that Horn had "served well."

"Give our justice system ample opportunity to hear all the facts before re...

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Convicted Huguely: What's next for 'Georgie'?

The most vivid emotion after the 26 years meted out for the murder of almost-graduated UVA student Yeardley Love came from a little girl. Seemingly a cousin to the just-convicted George W. Huguely V, she rushed out the front door of the Charlottesville Circuit Courthouse sobbing out, "That's too much."

But is it? A few notches above the 22.5-year midpoint, it's well within the allowable second-degree murder range of 5 to 40 years. Barring any reduction by Judge Edward Hogshire, the state's insistence that prisoners  serve at least 85 percent of their sentences means the now 24-year-old Huguely, credited for time served, is on track to remain behind bars until June 2032– about three months before his 45th birthday.


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