Charlottesville Breaking News

'A new life' cut short

Though today's morning testimony in the capital murder trial of Anthony Dale Crawford was all about material evidence, afternoon testimony turned far more emotional as friends and family of the victim, Sarah Louise Crawford, took the stand. "She came to our house early," testified Sarah's father, John Powers of Manassas, recalling the morning of October 29, 2004. "We were going to help her move out." Powers, Sarah, and her mother, Irene, drove to the Manassas apartment she had shared with Crawford, whom she married in 1999. Sarah, her father testified, believed Crawford would be away from home, looking for a job. That was not the case.

"He was lying on the sofa in a pair of boxers and a t-shirt," said Powers. When Sarah told Crawford he needed to get dressed because her parents were with her and she was planning to move out, Powers testified, Crawford dressed– but then quickly became hostile, telling Sarah, "You can't take anything." When she continued to collect her personal belongings– including her Green Card, as she and her mother are both British citizens– Powers said, Crawford called the police, who arrived soon after and confirmed that Sarah was within her rights to remove her possessions. Manassas Police Officer Michael Carlino testified that Crawford b...

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Alleged killer Tinsley finally moving toward trial

The Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg is revealing details of the ongoing case against Kenneth Maurice Tinsley, the 61-year-old man accused of raping and murdering Culpeper County resident Rebecca Lynn Williams in 1982, the crime that almost resulted in the execution of an innocent man. Tinsley, who allegedly stabbed the 19-year-old Williams to death in front of her two young children, is already serving two life terms in state prison for a 1984 rape here in Albemarle, but he wasn't connected to the Williams case until 2006. The original suspect, Earl Washington Jr., confessed and spent time on death row until he was exonerated by DNA evidence in 2000 and later pardoned. Last May, a Charlottesville-area jury awarded Washington $2.25 million in a civil judgment against the estate of the State Police investigator most closely associated with Washington's false confession. A hearing for Tinsley originally scheduled last fall was postponed when he suffered a heart attack. Tinsley still suffers from a heart ailment, but the Fredericksburg newspaper reports that he appeared to be in relatively good condition...

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Truck wedged under Corner bridge

There's a truck squished under the 14th Street bridge in the UVA Corner area, as seen in these photos shot at 8:10am. The vehicle was traveling west on University Avenue when the driver, perhaps unaware of the 10-foot height limit under the railroad bridge, crashed. According to historian Coy Barefoot's book The Corner, the bridge, built in 1901, has experienced many such accidents (including one that released live chickens onto the streets). In the early 1990s, the City– hoping to avoid accidents– installed a warning light and siren system. Whether the system was operating properly could not be immediately determined. Although a very light snow began falling around the time of the accident (and continues to fall), visibility has not yet been severely impaired. Pieces of smashed truck are lying on the street, but traffic is...

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'Gail for Rail' throws support to Webb

The #3 candidate in Virginia's madcap race for the U.S. Senate, the woman who has focused on light rail, appears to have steered her train into the camp of Democratic challenger James Webb. Appearing today at a Webb rally in Roanoke, Gail Parker said afterwards that while she won't technically endorse, she concedes she's "taking sides now." "If folks can't vote for us because we're too conservative, then for goodness sakes, please vote for postive change," says Parker following the Webb rally at Fire Station #1 in Roanoke. "By being there, I believe I lent my moral support," Parker tells the Hook. "We have chosen sides. Certainly, the incumbent is not change." Shut out of the four debates between Webb and incumbent Senator George Allen, Parker has

barely registered on the pollsters' charts, earning just two percent of the probable vote, according to several polls. About a week ago, the retired Air Force officer and civilian executive budget analyst announced that she'd throw her support to the candidate who supports her vision of a state-spanning high-speed, light-rail network that she sees as key to cutting traffic fatalities and helping eliminate the need for foreign oil, which she blames for the war in Iraq...

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Bomb trial: Teen's appeal lifts secrecy veil

Evidence in a highly publicized alleged plot to blow up two high schools was heard for the first time in a courtroom open to the public. A former Jack Jouett middle schooler appealed his conviction in Albemarle Circuit Court August 15 with the defense contending the boy didn't even know two of the three other teens arrested for allegedly plotting to blow up Albemarle and Western Albemarle high schools and that he thought the plan was a joke.

Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney Darby Lowe produced an array of ponytailed rising ninth graders to testify they'd heard the 13-year-old talk about the alleged plot before the police's February 3 announcement that three teens had been arrested. 

Publicity was clearly on Lowe's mind, and when she asked the jury pool if they'd read about the case, 10 of 36 potential jurors raised their hands. In particular, Lowe asked if they'd listened to Coy Barefoot's "Charlottesville... Right Now" radio show on WINA, or had read the Hook's July 20 article about the case. Lowe also subpoenaed most media organizations in town, including the Hook, the Daily Progress, WINA, NBC29 and the Newsplex.

Lowe's first witness was Albemarle police Sergeant Linda Jenkins who interviewed the 13-year-old boy on Febru...

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