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Woman enters Alford plea to police assault

A 29-year-old Halifax woman, Jessica Renee Pannell, entered an Alford plea Wednesday to a pair of charges for the felony assault of South Boston Police Officers M. W. Bowen and T. W. Bush.

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.

Pannell is free on bond pending sentencing set for the March court term.

Also on Wednesday, Joseph Matthew Lawson, 29, of Long Island pleaded guilty to two charges, including felony shoplifting from Walmart and misdemeanor possession of marijuana.

Pursuant to a plea agreement with the commonwealth, the court sentenced the defendant to five years in prison, with all but six months suspended for the felony, and 30 days in jail with all time suspended for the misdemeanor, and with credit for time served.

The court ordered the suspended portion of Lawson’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 Lawson to pay $57.44 restitution to Walmart within 60 days of his release, suspended his operator’s license for six months and ordered him to abstain from illegal drugs and submit to random drug tests.