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Alford plea entered in child rape

A 49-year-old South Boston man, Joe Cecil Cole, entered Alford pleas Tuesday in Halifax County Circuit Court to five sex-related crimes, including one for rape of a child.

Cole entered Alford pleas to two counts of felony sodomy of a child under the age of 13, and single counts of rape of a child under the age of 13, aggravated sexual battery and taking indecent liberties.

Under terms of an Alford plea, a defendant does not admit guilt but realizes prosecution evidence would make a guilty finding at trial almost a certainty.

There was no agreement as to sentencing, with the defendant and commonwealth requesting the court to order a full presentence report as well as a psychosexual evaluation prior to formal sentencing, set for a date in the November court term. 

 

Other court cases

George Anthony Chandler, 24, of South Boston pleaded guilty Tuesday to two felonies, including attempted possession of a firearm as a nonviolent felon and the malicious wounding of Dalshane Roberts.

Pursuant to a plea agreement with the commonwealth, an additional charge against the defendant for use of a firearm in commission of a felony was nol prossed.

Sentencing for Chandler was continued to a date in the September court term.

 Gregory Clayton Moore, 46, of Halifax pleaded guilty Tuesday to two counts for distribution of cocaine.

Pursuant to a plea agreement with the commonwealth, the commonwealth moved to nol pros a charge against the defendant for conspiring to distribute cocaine. 

Sentencing for Moore was continued to a date in the September court term.

 Thomas Gregory Betts, 44, pleaded guilty Wednesday to a felony charge for operating a motor vehicle after having been declared a habitual offender.

The defendant also pleaded guilty to a first offense of DWI, a misdemeanor.

Pursuant to a plea agreement with the commonwealth, the court sentenced Betts to five years in prison, with all but 12 months suspended, three months running concurrently with time Betts currently is serving in Danville.

The court sentenced Betts to a 12-month suspended jail term for the DWI conviction, ordering the defendant to pay a $250 fine within 12 months of his release and suspended his operator’s license for 12 months.

The court ordered Betts be placed on probation for one year upon his release.

 Kevin Lonell Palmer, 31, of South Boston was sentenced Wednesday to five years in prison, with all but one year and three months suspended, for a third offense of DWI within 10 years.

The court also sentenced Palmer to 12 months in jail, with all but 10 days suspended, for a third or subsequent offense of driving on a suspended or revoked operator’s license.

The court ordered the suspended portion of Palmer’s sentence be conditioned on his good behavior for five years and ordered him placed on probation for one year.

In addition, the court ordered Palmer to pay a $1,000 fine and suspended his operator’s license for 90 days.

 Terrence Prunty, 22, of South Boston pleaded guilty Wednesday to misdemeanor embezzlement from Dollar Tree after reaching a plea agreement with the commonwealth.

Under terms of the agreement, the court sentenced Prunty to a 12-month suspended jail term, conditioned on his good behavior for 12 months, and it ordered him to pay $272 restitution to Dollar Tree within 60 days.

The court also ordered Prunty to perform 50 hours of community service within 12 months under supervision of Halifax-Pittsylvania Court Services.

 Tiesha Lynette Ragsdale, 35, of Brookneal was convicted Wednesday of four charges, two for a third or subsequent offense of larceny and one each for a probation violation and contempt of court.

The court dismissed another charge against the defendant during the hearing for a violation of her pre-trial conditions of supervision.

Sentencing for Ragsdale was continued to a date in the September court term. 

 Justin Allen Adkins, 31, of Nathalie had a charge against him for possession of cocaine dismissed Tuesday following a bench trial.