New Kent Charles City Chronicle

News for New Kent County and Charles City County, Virginia | December 15, 2017

Tattling by iPhone imprisons Quinton man for one year

By Andre Jones | November 27, 2017 3:20 pm

A voice recognition application on a Quinton man’s iPhone has landed him a one-year jail sentence.

Jon Matthew Willis, 23, of the 6300 block of Hickory Road, received formal sentencing on one count each of possession of cocaine with intent to distribute and misdemeanor possession of marijuana during Nov. 27 New Kent Circuit Court proceedings.

During a Sept. 18 trial where the defendant entered guilty pleas to both charges, evidence presented by Commonwealth’s Attorney Linwood Gregory revealed that on Mar. 13, New Kent deputies stopped a vehicle that was a target of a drug operation. The driver of the vehicle, identified as James Everett III, and a confidential informant indicated they had recently purchased cocaine from Wilis’ residence.

After obtaining a warrant, deputies went to Willis’ home and search it, Upon questioning the defendant, the Siri app on Willis’ iPhone recognized his voice. The phone responded, “I cannot find that contact in your phone Jon,” within the proximity where police heard it. With the warrant allowing authorities to check Willis’ personal property, authorities searched his phone, finding a conversation between the defendant and Edwards in which the latter asked for half-a-gram and one-and-a-half grams [of cocaine]. Other evidence recovered from Wilis’ residence included a scale, small baggies filled with a white powdery substance, and bags of plastic filled with similar substance in the toilet where the defendant admitted to trying to flush it.

Willis received a five-year sentence with four years suspended (one year to serve) on the possession of cocaine with intent to distribute conviction. All 12 months on misdemeanor possession of marijuana were suspended.

In other circuit court proceedings:

–David Esau Morris, 40, formerly of 42 A Pasture Drive, received formal sentencing to a lone count of possession of ammunition by a convicted felon. Morris entered a guilty plea during an Aug. 28 trial.

In a summary of evidence at Morris’ case, on Dec. 26, 2016, conservation officers were patrolling in Barhamsville when they noticed a vehicle parked with its doors open. Moments later, two men wearing camouflage and hunting gear returned to it and the conservation officers asked to see their hunting licenses. Morris provided his license but was told by the officers that he did not have the proper credentials. The defendant confessed to officers that he was a convicted felon and subsequently arrested. A body search recovered shotgun shells in the defendant’s pockets.

Morris received a two-year jail sentence, with all but five months suspended.

–Brian Matthew Thomas, 40, of the 8100 block of Roaring Springs Road, Gloucester, entered a guilty plea to a lone count of possession of cocaine as part of a plea agreement.

In a summary of evidence, on Mar. 28 a New Kent deputy pulled into the 7-Eleven parking lot around 1:30 a.m. when he saw Thomas arguing with three men. Thomas left the store, spinning the tires on his vehicle. The defendant’s actions prompted the deputy to pursue him, leading to a brief chase on Farmer’s Drive (Route 273). After finally making a traffic stop, the officer detected alcohol on Thomas and initiated a few sobriety tests, which the defendant failed. A search of the vehicle not only revealed alcohol, but also marijuana and a pipe that had a substance that was later identified as cocaine.

Under the plea agreement, Thomas received a five-year sentence with all but three months suspended. He pleaded guilty to the possession of marijuana and DUI (second offense) in general district court and served time of those charges as well.