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Votes

At the Courthouse

Convict Faces Civil Suit

In 2002, an Alexandria deputy sheriff was sentenced to six years of incarceration with the Virginia Department of Corrections. Judge Donald Haddock found him guilty of two counts of "carnal knowledge of an inmate by a jail employee." Now, he faces a $1.9 million civil suit filed by the woman prisoner who was victimized by the deputy sheriff on six occasions in 2002.

At press time, the jury was still out.

Jane Doe — as she is called in court papers — brought the civil case to gain compensatory and punitive damages. She is suing the deputy who was convicted as well as the Sheriff's Office and the city of Alexandria.

"Sheriff Dunning should have known of this activity and stopped it," her motion for judgment stated. "Sheriff Dunning should have implemented better procedures and monitored the procedures he did implement to ensure this activity could not occur."

According to court documents, Mayo was in charge of the work-release program at the Alexandria Detention Center when Doe was a prisoner there. Doe's lawyer argued that Mayo used his position to intimidate and coerce her into a sexual relationship — withholding privileges "in an effort to impress upon Ms Doe the control he had over her."

The crime started in the spring of 2002. While Mayo and Doe were away from the detention center during a work-release program, he ordered her to go to a movie theater.

"While at the theater, defendant Mayo ordered Ms. Doe to perform oral sex on him, and she obeyed," the motion for judgment stated. After that initial encounter, the motion states, Mayo used a sheriff's car five times to drive her to his Maryland home where they had sex.

Doe is asking for $1,850,000 in damages.

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Berryman Withdraws Guilty Plea

Aubrey "Mike" Berryman, 26, has entered a motion to withdraw the guilty plea he signed in March admitting his role in the Dec. 7 abduction of Kenneth Labowitz. The motion to withdraw the plea was filed with the court in July, and Judge J. Howe Brown Jr. will rule on the motion in an Oct. 31 hearing.

"Mr. Berryman did not receive effective assistance of counsel throughout the proceedings and, as such, he did not make an informed decision to plead guilty," the motion stated, adding that Berryman had not been adequately informed of pre-trial motions, the possibility of a departure from sentencing guidelines or his right to appeal.

In May, Judge Brown sentenced Berryman to 24 years in prison. Then, in July, Berryman obtained a new lawyer. The motion to withdraw his guilty plea came about two weeks later.

Berryman was one of three men who abducted Labowitz in a scheme to defraud an elderly resident at the Watergate at Alexandria condominiums. The plan involved abducting Labowitz at gunpoint and taking him to a freshly dug grave near the west-side condominium.

Labowitz's wife testified that Berryman used a stun gun to subdue her while the men kidnapped her husband. Then, when the men had arrived at the grave, Labowitz testified that Berryman used the stun gun to zap him 10 or 12 times — until he agreed to drop a lawsuit exposing their scheme to defraud the elderly woman.