Manslaughter charge finally dismissed against Greene County game warden

About time.

From the Richmond Times-Dispatch: Charge dismissed in death of teen:

A judge dismissed a voluntary manslaughter charge yesterday against a game warden who shot and killed a Greene County teenager during a traffic stop in January.

Robert Orrin Ham III, the first Virginia game warden charged in a line-of-duty shooting, had pleaded not guilty in August. Game wardens are sworn law-enforcement officers authorized to make arrests.

Authorities said Ham and a deputy sheriff, responding to a report that Allen Michael Cochran had abducted his girlfriend, stopped Cochran’s car on U.S. 33 on Jan. 24. When Ham tried to remove the girl, the 16-year-old driver accelerated the car and struck Ham, who then fired into the vehicle, authorities said at the time.

Cochran’s family later disputed the claim that he had abducted his 15-year-old girlfriend, saying the two were running away together and that the shooting was unwarranted. Ham was placed on administrative duties after he was indicted by a grand jury.

Commonwealth’s Attorney Ronald L. Morris and defense attorney Steven Benjamin said in court yesterday that if the case had gone to trial, it would not have resulted in a conviction.

Uh, why did you get an indictment against him then? Idiot…

“There was no crime. This was a necessary, justifiable shooting,” Benjamin said after court.

Col. Mike Bise, chief of the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries’ Law Enforcement Division, said an internal investigation also found that Ham acted appropriately.

“It was an unfortunate and tragic event, but we have been confident the court would reach this decision,” Bise said.

Some more information from a prior post:

Cochran’s psychiatric history will likely take center stage as the case moves forward. Ham’s lawyers are requesting Cochran’s medical records in hopes of gaining further insight into the teen’s thinking the night of the shooting.

Court filings indicate the defense is looking for evidence that Cochran was suicidal, perhaps homicidal, when he and Ham crossed paths Jan. 24.

“It is our understanding and belief that Mr. Cochran was . . . very disturbed,” defense attorney Steven D. Benjamin said.

Two weeks before the shooting, Benjamin said, Cochran underwent a psychiatric evaluation after threatening to kill former classmates at William Monroe High School and members of his girlfriend’s family.

The night of the shooting, Ham, whose duties include law enforcement, was assisting sheriff’s deputies who were looking for Cochran in connection with the disappearance of his girlfriend, Chelsea Walker.

Authorities spotted a 1995 Chrysler with Walker in the passenger seat near the entrance to the Woodridge subdivision.

According to the defense, Ham approached the car but Cochran drove forward and struck the 24-year-old game warden, throwing him onto the hood and continuing through the intersection.

Benjamin said his client fired at Cochran only after unsuccessfully warning the teen to stop the car.

Rulings delayed in Caroline slaying case

From the Richmond Times-Dispatch: Rulings delayed in Caroline slaying case:

A judge postponed ruling yesterday on whether to move the retrial of a Caroline County woman convicted of killing her law-enforcement husband.

Caroline Circuit Judge Horace A. Revercomb III also delayed ruling on whether jurors could hear about a life-insurance policy that was to benefit Donna L. Blanton. The prosecution argued during Blanton’s first trial that she was in financial straits.

Blanton, 42, is scheduled to be tried again starting Nov. 29 in the October 2003 killing of her husband, Virginia State Police 1st Sgt. Taylor V. Blanton.

She was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to 28 years in prison during her first trial in 2005. But the Virginia Court of Appeals this year found that gender wrongly played a role in how Caroline Commonwealth’s Attorney Harvey Latney Jr. selected which potential jurors he did not want to hear the case.

During a pretrial hearing yesterday, Revercomb said he will first try to seat a jury, rather than ruling beforehand on the defense request to move the trial out of Caroline.

Blanton’s attorney, Mark Murphy, told the judge a defense-hired investigator conducted an informal survey of 100 county residents and found that 44 percent of them did not believe Blanton could get a fair trial in the county. He also said 90 percent of those surveyed knew Blanton had been convicted of murder and that those people also knew the retrial was granted because of a legal technicality related to the jury.

Bull. Are you saying that all 100 people that you surveyed knew who Donna Blanton was and there was a trial? I find that hard to believe when only around 25% of people in the county bother to come out to vote (6,811 or so voters in the last election, 15,345 or so registered voters, 27,000 or so people in county).

And 90% bothered to follow the trial from arraignment, trial, to appeal? Again, bull.

I’m sure I could “conduct an informal survey of 100 county residents” and get results that 90% of “county residents” have never heard of Donna Blanton!

“The prejudice against Ms. Blanton is widespread in the citizenry,” he said.

The truth is prejudice?

Murphy also said widespread media coverage, some of which he said included inaccuracies, could hinder his client’s chances of getting a fair trial in Caroline.

Eh? What inaccuracies? Please provide a list.

Latney countered that the survey was unscientific.

Alright, I agree with Latney for once…

Court officials have summoned more than 175 potential jurors for Blanton’s new trial, far more than for her first trial.

Blanton, who did not testify during her trial, told police an unidentified man broke into the couple’s home before dawn on Oct. 16, 2003, shot her 46-year-old husband in the couple’s bed while their children were at home and then fled.

She told investigators she fired at the fleeing killer, but police found no sign of a break-in or footprints on the dew-covered grass, and she quickly became a suspect.

Nice one Kiran. Stick it to Murphy!

The Robert Wittman/Jeff Sili smear machine?

From the idiot’s nest of FredTalk (most of the threads have now been deleted by The Free Lance-Star for slanderous content but a few are still available; good thing I’ve got backups!):

At 11/14/07 11:29 AM, from “Burqajoint”:

Yes, the election is over, but the compte passed on something one of his chicadees told him about one of the gruesome twosome [presumably Tom James and I] doing some rather creepy stalking…..

There was lying about being a reporter after entering the courtroom while votes were being counted.

And following that candidates wife home – does cranmama know about that?

At 11/14/07 06:45 PM, from “Burqajoint”:

Hmmmm, I don’t see a pimply-faced stalker in that crowd [at the Republican Convention].

Maybe he was outside waiting for the candidate’s wife to come out so he could follow her home….

At 11/14/07 06:47 PM, from “junie”:

I know Rob [Wittman]’s wife…she’d tear ass up and send his home crying.

At 11/14/07 06:48 PM, from “Burqajoint”:

And what about someone who snuck into the courtroom while the ballots were being counted and then lied about being from the newspaper?

What kind of person would do such a thing?

At 11/14/07 07:52 PM, from “Burqajoint”:

Only if you are the wife of a candidate who doesn’t like being followed home after a public meeting….

There’s talk of a lawsuit on another matter.

Best to stay clear of wierdos.

Especially if they post slander.

At 11/14/07 08:25 PM, from “Burqajoint”:

And what about a sick freak who follows married women home after public meetings?

What, at least a year in the pokey for that, wouldn’t you agree?

With mandantory drug testing and psychological help, of course to help them get over their disease….

At 11/14/07 08:51 PM, from “Burqajoint”:

Did you hear about the punk who followed the married candidate’s wife home?

Disgusting, isn’t it?

At 11/14/07 09:13 PM, from “Burqajoint”:

You may want to ask that tall pimply-faced kid with the aura of loser about him about it.

Hmm, I wouldn’t consider myself tall, but everyone is tall when viewed by someone at Jeff Sili’s height…

I bet if you are nice, he’ll rat out his buddy.

Plenty of others are.

You should see the flood of pms I got today, starting about 5:15 pm…..a veritable avalanche.

And those with connections that matter never mention it……

Really? Then why did you start posting the bullshit at 11:29 AM?

At 11/14/07 09:22 PM, from “Burqajoint”:

There’s some other stalking been going on that hasn’t been filed yet, and a nasty lawsuit is going forward, too, but on another matter.

And didja hear about the punk who tried to get in there and crusade against corruption while the votes were being counted?

His crusade led him to lie about who he was and that he was with a newspaper and finally someone grabbed him by the belt and scruff of his neck and tossed him through the cafe doors into the horse trough out fronta the courthouse!

At 11/14/07 09:28 PM, from “Burqajoint”:

Maybe a letter in the regular mail would be better, considering some of the harrassing email Wittman got……

Funny, I’ve never sent Wittman an email in my life!

At 11/15/07 12:13 AM, from “Burqajoint”:

You shoulda been here between 5 and 6 and seen the dozens of pms that came rolling in. There must havbe been 50 of them.

Incredible stuff and you can be sure the phone lines have been lit up all night across the county…..

At 11/15/07 12:17 AM, from “Burqajoint”:

As Blulady would say, “I’m connected.”

And today the dam broke and those in the know have been having a jolly old time.

The fact is, there are a few characters around who like to send harassing emails.

Again, I’ve never sent Wittman an email in my life!

At 11/15/07 01:16 AM, from “Burqajoint”:

Those two [presumably Tom James and I] leered at the wrong woman this summer and now it’s catching up to them.

LOL, the only time that Tom James and I were at the same place this summer was the first Board of Supervisors candidates’ forum. Funny, I was sitting by a candidate for Commonwealth’s Attorney, as well as several law enforcement officers, and the former sheriff. I would love to know who I was “leer[ing]” at.

At 11/15/07 01:42 AM, from “Burqajoint”:

Talk to some of the women working for the county tomorrow and you’ll see what they are all buzzing about.

At 11/15/07 08:29 PM, from “Burqajoint”:

I swear, I think everyone at the Caroline County library using public access computers is pm-ing me.

It’s like I suddenly have a fan club down there.

At 11/16/07 01:08 PM, from “Burqajoint”:

When he was caught lying about being from the newspaper and firmly asked to leave, they say the look on his face was priceless!

At 11/16/07 01:41 PM, from “Burqajoint”:

I understand a certain candidate is quite unhappy about his wife being followed………..

And finally when it was brought to their attention that this might just end up on my blog, at 11/16/07 02:27 PM, from “Burqajoint”:

The stuff (above) was not about [me] and Tom.

At 11/16/07 05:44 PM, from “Burqajoint”:


  • Y’all down at the Caroline and Westmoreland County libraries, especially my fellow sailors at C.P. and Kinsale!
  • The Compte and his little chicadees, warblers, and mockingbirds!
  • The Corner Table Gang – you know who you are!
  • The RitchBitch Bunch – charmed, I’m sure!
  • The Lady in Red – for your grace and elegance – enchante!
  • The gals at Union Bank!

Looks like you’re running a real tight ship there Billy Beale!

In a private message (PM) to a third party, from “Burqajoint”:

Now [redacted], you just settle right on down now and relax.

If I am lying a dozen or so others are behind each thing I have posted.

You shoulda seen all the new users who sent me pms and signed on just to do so.

The phone lines across Caroline and Westmoreland have been afire and I bet it’ll be that way through the weekend.

Really? I don’t know a soul in Westmoreland County. Wait, isn’t Robert Wittman from Westmoreland County? I do believe he is. He used to be on the Westmoreland County Board of Supervisors, didn’t he?

Another PM, from “Burqajoint”:

Word to the wise – better lawyer up………..

I’m shaking in my boots! Bring. It. On.

So, is this Robert Wittman’s and Jeff Sili’s doing?

And for the record, I have no less than two people that were with me on election day all day (when I was supposedly doing stealth infiltration of the courthouse) along with several more witnesses at the three victory parties I went to.

I also have a person that was with me all day during the Republican Convention and several law enforcement officers that I was also around.

It’s amazing that someone is going to so much trouble to try to discredit me.

Admittedly, it’s a nice ego trip!

UPDATE: Some posts that I missed:

At 11/12/07 07:50 AM, from “oharascarlett” (also uses the name “nativetxlady”):

Recently James obtained a video of the 13 year old daughter of a public figure at a basketball game. He sent it as a link to her mother at home with no explanation. the family thought and rightly so that she was being stalked until they realized it was taken by a news station and just obtained by James as a sick joke. There is no one exempt from his hatred, murder victim’s families or people’s kids. Eventually Lippa will have to step in to this.

“oharascarlett” is the alias of Jeff Sili’s wife Susan Sili.

At 11/18/07 10:54 AM, from “Burqajoint”:

I bet Lucky [Narain] doesn’t like those who collect videos of 13 year-old girls…

If anyone wants a complete copy of her lies (including several about George Spaulding) let me know at

A third choice for people in the 1st congressional district?

From the Richmond Times-Dispatch: 3rd candidate for 1st District seat:

A third candidate has qualified for the ballot in the special congressional election in the 1st District.

The State Board of Elections said Lucky R. Narain of Yorktown, an independent, filed about 1,500 signatures of registered voters. A total of 1,000 are required.

Narain said he will announce his candidacy next week. He described himself as a conservative.

You just got my attention!

Also running are Democrat Philip Forgit of Williamsburg and Del. Robert J. Wittman, R-Westmoreland.

Someone I disagree with on every issue (who has to be a better person than Wittman) and a complete freakin’ mook.

They are vying for the seat of Republican Rep. Jo Ann Davis, who died Oct. 6.

The special election will be held Dec. 11.

The district reaches through 23 counties and cities from the eastern end of Fauquier County through the Northern Neck and Middle Peninsula to Newport News.

How utterly priceless…

From the Richmond Times-Dispatch: 1st District race run on contrasts:

Wittman holds a doctorate in public policy and administration from Virginia Commonwealth University. He plans to retire next month as field director for the Virginia Department of Health’s division of shellfish sanitation.

“We make sure our seafood is safe,” he said.


Forgit (pronounced with a soft “g”) ran for the House of Delegates in 2003 but was defeated.

A naval reservist, he was mobilized from his job as a fourth-grade teacher in James City County. Forgit won a Bronze Star for serving with a special warfare unit as an adviser to the Iraqi army in 2005-2006.

“I was not a war hero, I just did my job well,” Forgit said.

He thinks he can bring a different perspective to Congress because of his service in Iraq, and, since returning home, as a counselor to returning Navy veterans.

Humble war hero, counselor, and teacher versus arrogant shellfish cleaner and career bureaucrat?

Six of one, half dozen of another…

Witnesses sought in Raquel Hunter case

From The Free Lance-Star: Witnesses sought in shooting case:

Two men are believed to have been with Lashawn Montque Monroe Saturday night when a teenager was shot in the head and killed in Caroline County.

Monroe, 22, was later charged with the murder of 16-year-old Raquel Hunter of Ruther Glen and was also charged with possession of a firearm in the commission of a felony. At his arraignment yesterday, a preliminary hearing date was set for Jan. 15, 2008. He requested a court-appointed attorney, but one has yet to be assigned.

A search warrant filed yesterday in circuit court says Monroe told police he traveled in a 1993 Dodge Caravan with two other people to the Madison Ruritan Club, where the shooting occurred.


These recent charges are not the first for Monroe in Caroline County. He had a 2004 concealed weapon charge following stabbings and shootings at a party. That charge was later dropped.

And he has convictions in General District Court for trespassing on private property and littering.

Commonwealth’s Attorney Harvey Latney has refused to discuss the cases. Court records do not say why the weapons charge was dropped.

Caroline man’s trial in manslaughter case expected to be postponed

From The Free Lance-Star: Caroline man’s trial in manslaughter case expected to be postponed:

The two-day jury trial of a Caroline County man charged with manslaughter scheduled to start today is expected to be postponed until next year.

According to a court order last week, Commonwealth’s Attorney Harvey Latney asked the court to appoint a “substitute attorney” in the case of John Wayne Peck, 27, because “it would be improper for him to act.”

Judge Horace Revercomb then appointed Spotsylvania Commonwealth’s Attorney Bill Neely to the case and the jury was called off.

Neely said yesterday the reason Latney asked to be excused from trying the case was because of complaints.

“Apparently, the victim’s family was upset in the handling of the case,” Neely said.

Latney’s motion came before he lost last week’s race for re-election to Tony Spencer, who takes over the office in January.

Latney refused to talk about why he would not prosecute Peck.

Neely said that after the election, he called Revercomb and asked if Spencer could be put on the case. There should be a decision in Circuit Court today.

Peck was charged with first degree murder in October 2006 after his hunting buddy, Jerry Curtis Beverly, was fatally shot in the chest. Latney later reduced his charge to manslaughter.

Sheriff Tony Lippa said Peck and Beverly had been hunting and drinking before getting into an argument. Beverly was later found dead.

Comment that was left:

Lesa said,

November 14, 2007 at 1:48 pm

I am the victim’s daughter in this case. I want to first say Thank you for your concern for my family. We are not at all disappointed about having to wait until next year to have the case tried. We fought hard to get Mr. Latney off my father’s case. So today was a bittersweet day. We were happy to have Mr. Latney off the case, but never the less it does not change the fact that my father is not here.
I feel strongly that with Mr. Spencer as Commonwealth victim’s rights will no longer be trampled on.

No bond for Lashawn Monroe

From the Richmond Times-Dispatch: No bond for slaying suspect:

Lashawn Monroe, 22, accused in the slaying of a 16-year-old Saturday outside a Ruritan clubhouse in Caroline County, will stay locked up at least until he gets a lawyer.

At a hearing yesterday morning on charges of murder and illegal use of a firearm in Caroline Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court, Judge Phillip U. Fines ordered Monroe held without bond at least until he is represented by a lawyer.

The next scheduled hearing for Monroe is Jan. 15.

Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Michael Weise said the state will oppose any bail for Monroe.

The body of the victim, Raquel Hunter, was found on the ground outside the Madison Ruritan Club hall in Ladysmith about 11 p.m. Saturday. The hall had been rented for a birthday party for another teen. That party started about 7 p.m. and was just ending when the shooting occurred.

Monroe and a juvenile who was injured were later located by police at Mary Washington Hospital in Fredericksburg and Monroe was arrested, authorities said.

Monroe told an investigator that he fired shots during the incident, according to a court affidavit filed yesterday in connection with a search warrant issued in the case.

Authorities searched a 1993 Dodge minivan that they say Monroe was riding in when he arrived at the birthday party. Investigators were looking for cartridge casings, gunshot residue, DNA, fingerprints and other potential evidence.

They seized several clothing items and a front passenger-seat headrest cover.

“Monroe also told [an investigator] that he had a firearm on his person while in the vehicle and did fire shots during the time of the incident,” an investigator wrote in the affidavit, which also revealed that Hunter had apparently been shot in the head.

After talking with Monroe, who had sought medical treatment at the Fredericksburg hospital for what police described as a grazing gunshot wound, authorities stopped the Dodge minivan with two other people inside it. Court papers described the occupants as possible witnesses or accomplices.

Caroline Sheriff Tony Lippa Jr. said Monday that Monroe was the only suspect at that time. Lippa could not be reached for additional information last night.

Also yesterday, Caroline Commonwealth’s Attorney Harvey Latney Jr. said he decided in 2005 not to prosecute Monroe on a concealed-weapons charge because “the evidence wasn’t there.”

And it only took you five hearings and 228 days to figure it out…

Great lawyering there…

That charge arose from a 2004 Labor Day weekend melee at the Dawn Progressive Center. Several suspects were charged in that incident, in which eight people were shot and two stabbed.

“If I could have prosecuted, I would have,” Latney said.

Just like you would have prosecuted Irvin Stevens, Saleem Stevens, Sherenda Stevens, Edward Arrington, Jermaine Shepherd, ad infinitum and ad nauseam.

Also according to records from Caroline General District Court, Monroe was charged in March with trespassing, was subsequently found guilty and fined $50 plus court costs of $76.

Latney lost his campaign for another term in last week’s election to Anthony G. “Tony” Spencer, who accused Latney of dropping too many charges and making too many plea deals.

NBC 12 is still a bunch of idiots…

From NBC 12 in Richmond, Virginia: Following shoot-out rumor, extra security still on hand at Caroline High:

The man accused in a deadly shooting at a birthday party in Caroline County will be arraigned today.

Lashawn Monroe is accused in the weekend shooting death of 16-year-old Raquel Hunter.

Meanwhile, extra security will be on hand again today at Caroline High School.

Yesterday, more than 200 students were pulled from class by lunchtime after rumors circulated about a shootout on campus.

There was no shoot-out.

Wait a second. Yesterday, you reported that “classes were nearly empty by fifth period” and that 80% of the students had left. Now it’s only 16.4% of the students that had left. Which one is it NBC 12? Or did you just bother running a story with no official comment (except for two seconds of video from Sheriff Lippa after you criticized the Sheriff for half a minute for increasing security of all things)? If you’re going to fearmonger, at least get your facts straight. Maybe you should leave the real reporting to WTVR next time. You freakin’ mooks.

The Caroline Sheriff’s Dept. wants parents to know that deputies are only on campus as a precaution, not because they’ve heard anything reliable about a plot for revenge.