A Stafford County man who was the central figure in an eight-hour standoff in 2018 during which he fired multiple shots was convicted of three offenses Friday.
Brandon John Hunt, 39, was convicted in Stafford Circuit Court of attempted malicious wounding of a law-enforcement officer and two counts of assault on a law-enforcement officer.
Hunt entered Alford pleas to the charges, meaning he doesn’t admit guilt but acknowledges that there is sufficient evidence for a conviction.
In exchanges for Hunt’s pleas, prosecutors Ed Lustig and Sarah Watkins reduced or dropped other charges, including attempted capital murder of a law enforcement officer. As part of his deal, Hunt will receive an active sentence of no more than 10 years when he is sentenced by Judge Victoria Willis on Feb. 11.
According to the evidence, Hunt’s wife called 911 about 7 p.m. Nov. 30, 2018, after hearing her husband fire a shot inside the home on Empress Alexander Place in the Hartwood area. The woman, their two children and another child were in the home and the wife feared that her husband had committed suicide.
The woman was instructed to leave and park away from the home. Deputies arrived and began surrounding the home.
During the next few hours, deputies repeatedly tried to get Hunt to come out of the house and he repeatedly refused. They did not want to enter the home because deputies feared the suspect wanted to commit “suicide by cop,” court records state.
The officers got that idea in part because of text messages Hunt was sending to his wife’s phone, which was in the possession of a deputy who was pretending to be the wife. The texts stated such things as “I’m going to kill them all,” “[Expletives] are messing with me but they’ll get theirs,” and “Let them come in, I’m ready.”
Early Dec. 1, deputies finally entered the house with the help of a specially outfitted tractor. Hunt fired two rounds through the closed door of the master bedroom. Court records state the shots were fired in the direction of anyone who might have been coming up the steps. Hunt had already fired about a dozen random shots earlier in the incident.
Hunt’s attorney, Casey Stevens, had presented an insanity defense at one point, and found a doctor who supported it. But a doctor called in by the prosecution rejected the insanity defense and said that Hunt’s behavior that night appeared to have been a “a desperate, alcohol-fueled attempt to get attention from his wife rather than the result of mental health factors beyond his control.”
Keith Epps: 540/374-5404