Across Virginia

Virginia Lottery officials say the recent record year for sales, profits and payouts have less to to do with those occasional huge jackpots and much more to do with every day sales of scratcher tickets. For the 12 months that ended in June, Virginia Lottery sales reached a record $2.14 billion and prize payouts totaled $1.3 billion. WFIR’s Evan Jones has more:

 

Botetourt County law enforcement says there were reports of shots fired in Troutville. Callers said they heard yelling and gunshots last night on the 300 block of Tucker Road. When deputies responded to the scene, they found a male victim had been shot and stabbed and a female victim also suffered gunshot wounds. Two suspects were arrested. 20-year-old Matthew Green was charged for malicious wounding and reckless handling of a firearm, and 20-year-old Tyler Wheetley was charged with malicious wounding and contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

From News Release: The Botetourt County Sheriff’s  Office reports that at approximately 10:09 pm on July 10, the 911 Communications Center started receiving reports of shots being fired in the 300 block of Tucker Rd., Troutville VA, callers further stated they heard yelling and also heard that someone had been shot. Sheriff’s Deputies responded to the scene and once at the residence determined that a male victim had been shot and stabbed and that a female victim had also been shot. Deputies detained two suspects and then had Emergency Services workers come in and treat the victims. Both the male and female victims were transported to a Roanoke area hospital. Both suspects were arrested and transported to the Botetourt County Jail. Matthew T. Green, age 20 of Troutville VA was charged with 2 counts of Malicious Wounding, Reckless handling of a firearm and the use of a Firearm in the Commission of a Felony. Tyler T. Wheetley, age 20 of Roanoke VA was charged with one count of Malicious Wounding and Contributing to the Delinquency of a Minor. The Investigation is continuing and no photos of the arrestees are available at this time.

UPDATE: On July 9, 2018 just after midnight Roanoke County Police responded out to a single vehicle crash in the 4500 Block of Challenger Ave. A Jeep was traveling East on Challenger Avenue when it lost control and went off the roadway. The Driver and sole occupant of the vehicle David King, 44, of Roanoke County was pronounced dead at the scene.  The initial investigation has shown that Mr. King was not wearing his seatbelt, and it is believed that alcohol was a factor. This crash is still under investigation and anyone with information is asked to call our non-emergency number (540) 562-3265.
PREVIOUSLY: Roanoke County Police was on-scene of a motor vehicle crash on Challenger Avenue Eastbound just prior to the Bonsack Walmart entrance. As a result of this crash Challenger Avenue was restricted to a single turn lane from Huntridge Road until the intersection with Walmart. Police say the road has since reopened and a full updated press release is pending.

NORFOLK, Va. (AP) — The owners of a popular dinner cruise ship in Virginia are being sued by a customer who says the ship’s no-skid flooring worked too well. The lawsuit in federal court accuses the Spirit of Norfolk cruise ship of inappropriately using no-skid flooring on a part of the ship where cruisers play the game cornhole. The plaintiff, 66-year-old Jeffrey Makuch of New York, says he took a cruise on the ship in June 2016 and fell while playing cornhole. He says the no-skid floor made it impossible for him to properly shift his weight while stepping to throw a beanbag. The cruise ship owners have filed a reply denying that their flooring presents a risk. The Virginian-Pilot reports (https://bit.ly/2KPeNx9) the lawsuit seeks roughly $375,000 in damages.

WAYNESBORO, Va. (AP) — Authorities say a Virginia man choked to death after swallowing an apparent bag of cocaine during a police raid. News outlets report 52-year-old William Tucker of Waynesboro died Friday. Police say a drug task force and a Waynesboro police SWAT team arrived at a Waynesboro home Friday morning for a drug investigation. When they entered, police say they found Tucker forcing a bag filled with white powder into his mouth. Police say Tucker lost consciousness while resisting attempts to remove the bag. He was declared dead at a hospital. Police are continuing their investigation.

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Virginia tourism officials paid the reality show “The Bachelorette” more than $500,000 to film an episode of the show in Richmond. The Richmond Times-Dispatch filed a Freedom of Information Act request to learn that the Virginia Tourism Corporation paid $536,000 in incentives to lure the popular ABC show to Virginia. The contract required the show to mention the state’s “Virginia is for Lovers” tourism campaign and provide a link to the state’s tourism page on the show’s website. The episode aired Monday and featured a cameo from Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam.

The show draws an average 6 million viewers, and tourism officials told the newspaper (https://bit.ly/2KIZua4 ) that their media-monitoring software indicates the state received $47 million in publicity value from the show.

James Fields, Jr.

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — A state trial will likely be held for a man accused in a deadly car attack on protesters opposing a white nationalist rally in Virginia before he’s tried on federal hate crime charges that carry a possible death penalty. In a joint motion filed Thursday, federal prosecutors and 21-year-old James Alex Fields Jr.’s defense attorneys said they need time to prepare for the “complex” federal case. The two sides also said that the state trial — scheduled to begin Nov. 26 — and its outcome “may provide information that is material” to a determination by U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions whether to seek the death penalty in the federal case.

Fields, of Maumee, Ohio, is accused of killing 32-year-old Heather Heyer and injuring dozens of people on Aug. 12 after a “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville by driving his car into a crowd demonstrating against the rally. The event attracted hundreds of white nationalists to the college town where officials planned to remove a statute of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee.

Fields faces murder and other charges under Virginia law. Last week, he was indicted on 30 federal charges. Twenty-nine of the counts were brought under a hate crimes law that carries a maximum penalty of life in prison.

The 30th count was brought under a provision of the Civil Rights Act of 1968. It accuses Fields of racially motivated violent interference with a federally protected activity — the use of the public streets and sidewalks of Charlottesville — resulting in death.

The charge can carry the death penalty. Prosecutors have not decided whether to seek it, and the process could take months.

The law requires prosecutors to prove not only that Fields acted because of the actual or perceived race or national origin of members of the crowd, but also that he was motivated by Heyer’s use of the streets and sidewalks of Charlottesville.

Robert Dunham, executive director of the Death Penalty Information Center, said he believes federal prosecutors have agreed to let the state put Fields on trial first because it’s a stretch for them to try to use the hate crimes statute that makes him eligible for the death penalty.

“It makes sense for them to wait until after the state trial because as the facts stand right now, it’s an extremely tenuous death penalty claim,” Dunham said.

“The fact that something is labeled a hate crime doesn’t by itself make it a capital offense. There has to be more. The way the statute is written, on the facts of this case, it’s not clear that there is any basis to seek the death penalty.”

But Jonathan Turley, a professor at the George Washington University Law School, said he believes the decision to hold the state trial first is a good strategic move by prosecutors.

“The state is likely to produce a great deal of evidence that the federal prosecutors do not currently have. In particular, they will be able to see the evidence marshaled by the defense as to the state of mind of Fields,” Turley said.

Fields pleaded not guilty Thursday to the federal charges.

Photo: AP

WASHINGTON (AP) — Lawyers for Paul Manafort, President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman, asked a federal judge Friday to relocate a criminal trial starting later this month because of pretrial publicity. The financial crimes trial of Manafort is scheduled to start July 25 in Alexandria, Virginia, just outside Washington. But his lawyers argued in court papers Friday that it would be impossible for Manafort to receive a fair trial because of the intense media coverage surrounding his case and special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation. They asked for the trial to be relocated to the more sparsely populated city of Roanoke in southwest Virginia.

The lawyers say that while the Washington region ranks first in the nation in households with computers and Internet access, “Roanoke is the 70th largest media outlet in the United States and 38% of households in Roanoke lack broadband compared to 3% in Northern Virginia.”

A Google search for news articles about “Russian collusion” turned up 2,900,000 results, and thousands of articles have been focused on Manafort.

“Reviewing these articles, one is hard pressed to find any that are not unfavorable to Mr. Manafort,” the defense lawyers say.

In addition, they say, voters in the Virginia region where jurors would be drawn from voted 2-1 in favor of Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, Trump’s opponent, while “this split is more balanced” in Roanoke.

“Nowhere in the country is the bias against Mr. Manafort more apparent than here in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area,” they wrote.

Manafort is awaiting trial in Virginia this summer and in federal court in Washington this fall.

He faces charges related to his work for pro-Russia Ukrainian political interests. The charges don’t relate to the core focus of the Mueller investigation — potential coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia — and prosecutors said in a court filing that they do not intend to raise allegations of collusion. But they do say they plan to present evidence that a bank executive who approved a loan to Manafort expressed interest in working on the Trump campaign, told Manafort about that interest and eventually secured a position advising the Trump campaign.

“In short,” prosecutors wrote, “the defendant’s role with the Trump campaign is relevant and inextricably intertwined with the Lender D bank fraud and bank fraud conspiracy charges. Here, it would be difficult for the jury to understand why the loans were approved without understanding that the lender approved the loans, in spite of the identified deficiencies, because the senior executive factored in his own personal ambition.”

Manafort was jailed last month after a federal judge revoked his house arrest over allegations of witness tampering in Mueller’s investigation.

Defense lawyers said in court papers Thursday that Manafort is locked in a jail cell in Virginia for 23 hours a day, excluding visits from his attorneys, and has been in solitary confinement because the facility can’t guarantee his safety. The lawyers are asking a federal appeals court to overturn the judge’s order and release him under certain conditions as he awaits trial.

The lawyers said his detention makes it “effectively impossible” for Manafort to prepare for trial. They said the judge, Amy Berman Jackson, did not analyze carefully enough whether Manafort had actually committed witness tampering.

“Independently, the alleged evidence of obstruction is so thin that it cannot reasonably support the determination that no set of conditions could ensure Mr. Manafort’s appearance and the safety of the community,” Thursday’s court filing states.

Manafort is one of four Trump campaign or White House aides to have been charged in Mueller’s investigation. Three others — George Papadopoulos, Michael Flynn and Rick Gates — have pleaded guilty and agreed to cooperate with investigators.

A driver who struck a dog and returned to check on its condition was then struck and killed by another vehicle. It happened shortly before sunrise this morning on Peppers Ferry Road, near the Radford Army Ammunition Plant in Montgomery County. The sheriff’s office says 50-year-old Leslie Ratcliff of Hiwassee died at the scene. Officials say the second driver remained there and has been fully cooperative.
From the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office: On July 6, 2018, at approximately 0540 this morning deputies from the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office were dispatched to a motor vehicle crash in the 4200 block of Rt. 114 – Pepper’s Ferry Road. When deputies arrived on the scene, they located a deceased female who had been struck by a car. Preliminary investigation by deputies indicate that 50 year old, Leslie Ratcliff of Hiwassee was traveling east in a 2010 Hyundai Sonata, when her vehicle struck a dog in the roadway. She returned to check on the dog and was subsequently struck by a 2013 Ford Focus traveling east. The driver of that vehicle, who will not be identified at this time, was not injured and remained on the scene, fully cooperating with the investigation. No charges have been filed as the investigation continues.

Bellamy Malaki Gamboa

From News Release: The Virginia State Police has issued a critically missing adult alert on behalf of the Virginia Beach Police Department on 07/05/2018 at 1801 hours.

The Virginia Beach Police Department is looking for Bellamy Malaki Gamboa, an Asian female, 39 year old, height 5’01”, weight 135 lbs, with brown eyes, and black hair. She has a tattoo of a band of roses on her right arm and “Bellamy” tattooed on her right ankle.

She is believed to have been abducted and in danger. She was last seen on 07/01/2018.

Please contact the Virginia Beach Police Police Department at 1-757-385-8175 if located.

You may find complete information at http://www.vasenioralert.com/