Week in Loudoun

Week in Loudoun

Candidate Forum

<bt>The League of Women Voters of Loudoun and of the Fairfax Area, will hold a 10th Congressional District Candidate Forum, at the Dulles Hyatt Ballroom, 2300 Dulles Corner Road, Oct. 17, at 7:30 p.m., featuring incumbent Congressman Frank Wolf (R), Judy Feder (D), Wilbur Wood (L) and Neeraj Nigam (I). The forum will follow the Meet-the-Press-style format. The evening will begin with questions by a media panel, followed by questions from the audience.

<sh>Education Meeting

<bt>Del. Chuck Caputo (D-67) will hold a town hall meeting on education Saturday, Oct. 21, in the James McDonnell room at the Sully District Government Center, 4900 Stonecroft Boulevard in Chantilly, from 10 a.m.-noon.

Guest speakers include Kathy Smith, Sully District representative and Cathy Belter, Springfield representative to the Fairfax County School Board and Robert F. DuPree Jr., chairman and Dulles District representative to the Loudoun County School Board.

All questions can be directed to Lu Ann Maciulla McNabb, legislative assistant, 703-476-6944 or delccaputo@house.state.va.us.

<sh>Fatal Accident

<bt>A Stephen's City man was killed and another man and seriously injured after a car crash Oct. 3, which closed a major roadway in Loudoun for more than five hours as crews from Verizon restored a damaged utility line.

The crash occurred shortly after 5 a.m. on Route 50 near Watson Road in the Aldie area of the county. According to the Sheriff's Office, a 1990 Honda driven by Cody D. Henderson, 18, of Front Royal, was attempting to make a left-hand turn onto Watson Road from Route 50 when his car collided with a westbound 2006 Chevrolet van driven by Celso Martinez, 32, from Maryland.

Joseph William Thompson, 19, a rear-seat passenger in the Honda was taken to Inova Loudoun Hospital at Lansdowne where he was pronounced dead. A front-seat passenger in the Honda, Frederick Hylen Mosser III, 18, of Front Royal, had to be extricated from the vehicle by Fire/Rescue personnel and was airlifted to Inova Fairfax Hospital where was listed in critical condition.

During the crash the van went into a utility pole, which broke in half falling across Route 50. Crews from Verizon were on the scene for several hours restoring the lines keeping the roadway closed.

Anyone who may have witnessed this crash and who has not spoken with a Sheriff's crash investigator is asked to contact SD R. Garis at 703-771-5798, Ext. 2173.

<sh>Sentence Reduced

<bt>A Loudoun County Circuit Court judge reduced the recommended jury sentence of a man convicted of rape and abduction Tuesday, Oct. 3. Prosecutors with the Office of the Commonwealth's Attorney presented the case of Benjamin Milburn in June 2006. After two days of trial and deliberations, a jury found Milburn guilty of both charges, which were committed on the same day Milburn was released from prison back in 2004.

Milburn had finished serving two years for felony embezzlement and was on probation at the time of the offense and subsequently absconded from probation. Milburn was later apprehended in 2005 in the District of Columbia and brought back to Loudoun County for trial.

After hearing additional evidence at sentencing, which included five prior felony convictions, the jury recommended a sentence of life plus 30 years. Milburn's prior convictions included three burglaries as well as an assault on a police officer with a deadly weapon.

Judge Burke F. McCahill reduced the life sentence to 20 years, eight months and reduced the 30-year sentence to 10 years ensuring that Milburn will be released into the community later in life. In Virginia, juries recommend sentences at the conclusion of a trial. When a final sentence is imposed, the judge has the ability to reduce a jury recommendation, but cannot increase it.

"I've discussed this issue with many jurisdictions across Virginia and have found that jury recommendations are very rarely tampered with. I understand there are exceptions for some cases, but for some reason, it's much more common in Loudoun County than it is in other parts of the state," said Commonwealth's Attorney Jim Plowman in a press release. "It's extremely frustrating when I see prosecutors work as hard as they do on a case such as this where the defendant is a violent felon, only to have the very wishes of the community disregarded. Despite this, we'll continue to bring the community into the courthouse so citizens can be heard. I believe it's their duty and their right," Plowman said.