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LOCAL WEEK IN REVIEW

March 30, 2008 12:16 am

Molester says he was assaulted by Bigfoot

A man who claims that he was molested by Bigfoot as a child was ordered to serve 20 years in prison Tuesday for his own molestation-related activities.

Gene R. Morrill, 57, of New Ipswich, N.H., had previously pleaded guilty in Stafford Circuit Court to 20 charges stemming from his efforts to solicit 13-year-old boys over the Internet.

Defense attorney Terrence Patton cited Morrill's mental health issues in seeking leniency from Judge J. Howe Brown.

Morrill told an investigator preparing his pre-sentence report about being sexually assaulted by the legendary Bigfoot, a North American folklore character said to be between 7 and 10 feet tall, and covered in dark brown or dark reddish hair. Patton said Morrill really believes the assault happened.

However, Morrill was determined to be mentally competent to stand trial.

Duo charged with cruelty to animals

A Culpeper man and woman face 84 counts of animal neglect and cruelty charges after 13 pit bull dogs, a parakeet and an iguana were left without food or water for what may have been as long as two weeks.

The owner of the house where the animals were found called authorities March 21 after he discovered the situation, according to Officer Kim Siebert of Culpeper County Animal Control.

Siebert said that while none of the animals had major medical problems--aside from being deprived of food and water for a prolonged period--the dogs are being treated for parasites and skin conditions.

Man given 9 months for spreading HIV

A North Carolina man was ordered to serve nine months in jail for not telling his girlfriend he was HIV-positive before having unprotected sex with her.

Robert Earl Johnson, 42, of Washington, N.C., pleaded guilty to two counts of infected sexual battery and assault and battery Wednesday in Stafford Circuit Court.

The two charges of infected sexual battery were reduced from felonies to misdemeanors.

Johnson should be re leased soon. He has been in jail since November, and inmates convicted of misdemeanors generally have to serve only about half of their sentences.

The victim was a Stafford woman.

Group urges park to preserve war sites

Historians and preservationists are encouraging Stafford County to create a public park to preserve the most significant remaining set of unprotected Civil War forts and camps in the northern part of Virginia.

The 14- to 20-acre tract near the regional landfill in central Stafford includes four Union Army forts and two camps where soldiers spent the winter of 1862-63. Glenn Trimmer, director of Friends of Stafford Civil War Sites, said the site is the best surviving piece of the "Valley Forge of the Civil War," the winter camps where the Union Army recovered from its defeats at Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville.

An ad-hoc group convened last week by Stafford County Administrator Anthony Romanello called for preserving the sites and building a one-lane road to provide public access.

Soldier stabbed outside local eatery

A soldier was stabbed and beaten outside a Fredericksburg restaurant early March 22, police said.

City police spokeswoman Natatia Bledsoe said the 21- year-old man, who is in the Army, was stabbed twice in the abdomen during a ruckus at the IHOP in Central Park about 2:30 a.m.

The soldier did not suffer life-threatening injuries and was up and talking to police after the brawl.

Embezzling sends handyman to prison

A former chauffeur and handyman was sentenced to seven years in prison for embezzling money from an elderly Colonial Beach man who had hired and befriended him.

In addition, James Michael Armel, 37, agreed to repay his former benefactor $100,000 and to stay away from the victim and his family.

Westmoreland County Commonwealth's Attorney Dean J. Atkins said that in August 2006, Armel persuaded his benefactor to give him $30,000 to invest in real estate. But Armel used the money to buy a new car a few days later. Armel and his wife later sold the car for $22,000. The transactions amounted to embezzlement, for which Armel received seven years in prison.

As part of a deal with the prosecutor, Armel pleaded guilty to charges of grand larceny, selling stolen property and money laundering and the sentences were suspended.





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