Although the charges against him were both reduced last week, Chantilly's Robert E. Sheffler III will still be serving time behind bars. And because he got into trouble while on probation from a previous conviction, even more time could be added next month when he appears in court for a revocation hearing.
His most recent run-in with the law happened Aug. 17, around 7:45 p.m., in the Southgate Industrial Park, off Willard Road in Chantilly. Fairfax County police said a 42-year-old woman was getting into her parked car in the 4500 block of Singer Court, when a pipe-wielding man approached her and tried to force his way into her car.
However, he was unable to complete the crime because the woman began screaming and he fled. Aided by witnesses and a helicopter, police quickly found the suspect in some nearby brush and arrested him.
Police later identified the assailant as Sheffler, 21, of 14509 Swiss Air Place in the Chantilly Meadows community. They charged him with attempted abduction, domestic assault and probation violation. The victim was uninjured.
He appeared last Tuesday, Sept. 28, in General District Court before Judge Lorraine Nordlund on the charges stemming from the Aug. 17 incident. At that time, he was found guilty of two lesser charges.
The domestic assault was reduced to simple assault, and Sheffler was sentenced to 180 days in jail, with 160 suspended. The attempted abduction was reduced to assault and battery and, for this charge, the judge sentenced him to 12 months in jail, with nothing suspended.
Regarding the probation-violation charge, it will be heard Oct. 15 in Circuit Court before Judge Leslie Alden. On Aug. 14, 2002, Sheffler was sentenced to 18 months in prison (five years incarceration, with 42 months suspended).
His punishment was for a 2001 offense and subsequent conviction for distribution of a controlled substance (narcotics). Now that he's been convicted of two new crimes, some or all of the time previously suspended from his 2002 sentence could be added back for him to serve.