Last minute crime revelation sinks defendant’s plea deal
A plea agreement resulting in probation and no jail time for a man accused of breaking into a New Kent subdivision’s model home and attempting to steal a flat-screen television came close to being a done deal last week in county circuit court. But a last minute revelation that the defendant is wanted on a felony charge in another jurisdiction wiped the deal off the table.
Last Dec. 23, a New Kent deputy encountered DeShun Naheem Scott, 35, of 2603 Brook Forest Terrace in Midlothian, inside an Orleans Homebuilders’ model house in the Patriot’s Landing subdivision off Route 60 in Bottoms Bridge. Deputy Joey McLaughlin responded to a burglar alarm at the house and met Scott, who was walking down the steps from the second floor while carrying a flat-screen TV.
Upon spotting McLaughlin, Scott dropped the television, county Commonwealth’s Attorney Linwood Gregory told the court during an April 20 trial. Scott later told the deputy he wanted a free TV, the prosecutor added.
The defendant claimed the house’s back door was unlocked, but there were signs the door had been forced open, Gregory said, adding Scott had a screwdriver in his possession.
A grand jury in March indicted Scott on three felony charges — burglary, attempted grand larceny, and possession of burglar’s tools. The plea deal dropped all but the burglary count to which Scott pleaded guilty. Sentence included 10 years probation along with restitution payments to the house construction company.
Scott told Judge Thomas B. Hoover that he was driving home from a work assignment in Newport News when he pulled off Interstate 64 to find a bathroom. It was an explanation the judge found hard to swallow since the defendant would have driven past a fast food restaurant and two convenience stores before pulling into the subdivision entrance.
“Why do you drive past… other than you’re just a thief looking for a place to break in?” the judge asked the defendant.
Hoover appeared to be leaning toward rejecting the plea deal when Gregory announced he had just learned about an arrest warrant naming Scott in connection with stolen property possession in Albemarle County.
Gregory withdrew the plea agreement. Hoover ordered Scott’s arrest and scheduled a new trial for June, probably before a substitute judge.
In another, unrelated case on April 20, Hoover dismissed attempted burglary counts lodged against three men, citing insufficient evidence to substantiate the charges.
William Adam Bradford, 22, and brothers Maurice Thomas Lewis, 18, and Kevin Allen Lewis, 20, had been indicted in connection with a Feb. 14 incident at a house on Maple Road in the Woodhaven Shores subdivision.
Gregory said the trio had driven to the house to settle a dispute with one of the occupants. After arriving, they knocked and kicked on the front door while voicing threatening remarks to a man and woman who had taken refuge inside. The couple never opened the door to admit the group, and the trio eventually left.
The three defendants’ lawyers — Todd Duval, John O. Williams, and John Jones — argued that their clients had been invited to come by to discuss the dispute. The person who issued the invitation, however, was not home when the trio showed up.
“There was no attempt to break in and there were no threats, just name-calling,” Duval argued.
Hoover, agreed, saying the trio carried on “a long, extended period of knocking” that did not constitute attempted burglary.
In another matter, a Sandston man pleaded guilty to eluding police in connection with a Jan. 3 incident during which he ran from the scene after wrecking the pickup truck he was driving.
A New Kent deputy encountered the pickup, traveling with no headlights on, shortly before 7 p.m. on Route 106. A chase ensued on to Route 60 west and ended when the pickup ran off the road on Magnolia Woods Place, Gregory told the court.
The driver, Ernest Lenwood Cotman Jr., 41, of 5413 Bradley Pines Circle Apt. E, fled on foot, but a passenger in the pickup gave the deputy the driver’s identity.
Cotman was arrested on Jan. 8 at his workplace. He apparently ran from the scene because his driver’s license had been suspended, Gregory said.
Hoover revoked Cotman’s bail and ordered the defendant held in jail until sentencing is held in June. Cotman faces up to five years in prison.