Experience in jail opens eyes of Virginia Beach woman during formal sentencing in New Kent
At points in life, there are realizations that a person must deal with, especially if they have committed a crime. Judge B. Elliott Bondurant hopes that a Virginia Beach woman’s time incarcerated can serve as an important reminder of the greater things in life.
Sonja Noella Beaulieu, 41, received formal sentencing to one count of DUI after being convicted of a similar offense during Monday afternoon proceedings in New Kent Circuit Court.
During a July 6 trial, a summary of evidence presented during the case revealed that on Nov. 25, 2019, a New Kent deputy encountered a vehicle sitting in Lanexa Plaza after hours. At the time, the vehicle was running and the driver, identified as Beaulieu, was in the driver’s seat. When the officer approached the defendant, a small odor of alcohol was detected, and Beaulieu admitted to drinking two beers earlier. A field sobriety was conducted, with Beaulieu failing the test and being arrested. A subsequent blood test revealed that the defendant’s BAC (blood-alcohol content) level to be .23, nearly three times the legal limit. Additional investigative work discovered that Beaulieu had a felony DUI conviction from 2007 in Virginia Beach.
During her sentencing Monday afternoon, Beaulieu talked about being arrested one month after having her first child and how not being in his life was devastating. When questioned about when she hit rock bottom while awaiting trial, the defendant revealed a conversation she had while incarcerated.
“I had just finished a class with another lady, and she told me about her five-year old child being killed by a drunk driver,” Beaulieu said. “It hurt my heart because here I was standing in front of her with my fourth DUI conviction and it hurt. That’s when I knew I had to change my life.”
Prior to sentencing, Bondurant commented on the presentence report he had received that provided information on the defendant’s background.
“I have read hundreds of these reports within the last five or six years,” the judge said. “But as I read yours, I believe you got the point and learned something.
“Going to jail after just giving birth is more than of a punishment than I can ever give,” Bondurant added. “I hope you’re sincere in the words that you’ve spoken here today.”
Beaulieu received a three-year sentence with two years suspended (one year to serve) on her conviction.
In other circuit court proceedings:
–John Lawrence Ellis Jr., 23, currently of Henrico Jail West, entered guilty pleas to two counts of destroying a fire protection system and one count of assault and battery on a law enforcement officer as part of a plea deal.
In a summary of evidence, on Nov. 5, 2019, a deputy working Henrico Jail East in New Kent noticed a cell flooding. That cell belonged to Ellis, and it was discovered that he had broke the sprinkler system inside.
In a separate incident on Dec. 4, 2019, Ellis was being transferred to Henrico Jail East after an arrest and made some comments that concerned deputies. During his clothing exchange as part of the booking process, he refused to change clothes and swung his fist, punching an officer in the mouth and causing injuries.
Under the agreement, Lawrence received a five-year sentence with three years, eight months (one year, four months to serve) on the assault on a law enforcement officer conviction. All three years on each of the two destroying a fire protection system were suspended, but he must pay restitution in the amount of $250.
–Garrett Lee Miller, 26, of the 9000 block of Sherwood Drive, Quinton, entered a guilty plea to one count of felony eluding.
In a summary of evidence, Miller led authorities through a chase within the county lines on Jan. 11. He was subsequently arrested and apprehended for the offense.
Miller received a five-year sentence with all time suspended. However, he must pay a $1,000 fine.
–Melissa Shook Perkins, 50, of the 1700 block of Arrowhead Road, accepted a plea deal and entered a guilty plea to one count of possession of a controlled substance.
In a summary of evidence, Perkins was arrested for having the substance on Feb. 15 illegally. Lab reports discovered trace amounts of Fentanyl and heroin.
Under the agreement, Perkins received a one-year sentence with all but 90 days suspended.
–Robert Anthony Rosea, 58, of Cumberland, received formal sentencing to one count of construction fraud.
During a July 6 trial, a summary of evidence presented that on Aug. 31, 2019, Rosea entered into an agreement to make repairs at the victim’s home. After he received a payment of $2,928, he did not do any of the work agreed upon, and the victim reported it to the authorities a couple of months later.
Rosea received a 10-year sentence with seven years suspended (three years to serve).
–Jerry Marcellus Thurston, 47, of the 9400 block of Donachy Drive, Chesterfield, entered a guilty plea to an amended charge of DUI (second offense) as part of a plea agreement (originally charged with DUI-third offense within five years).
In a summary of evidence, just before 2 p.m. on Nov. 22, 2019, a be-on-the-lookout was issued on a red four door Ranger truck traveling along Interstate 64 westbound. The vehicle was encountered at the 205-mile marker (Bottoms Bridge) and a traffic stop was initiated. The driver, identified as Thurston, had an odor of alcohol detected on him and a field sobriety test was conducted. The defendant admitted to drinking alcohol that morning and he was subsequently arrested. A background research on Thurston revealed he had been arrested for DUI in Chesterfield, triggering the second offense violation.
Under the agreement, Thurston received a 12-month jail sentence with seven months suspended (five months to serve). He must also pay a $500 fine and contribute $50 to the Trauma Center Fund.