The Franklin News-Post|
P. O. Box 250
310 Main Street, SW
Rocky Mount, Virginia 24151
|Prosecutors: Blackmail, custody battle led Agee to kill ex-wife|
Wednesday, May 8, 2013
By KEN BRADLEY - Staff Writer
Former Franklin County deputy Jonathan Agee was sentenced Wednesday afternoon to three life terms, plus 11 years, in Roanoke City Circuit Court.
Investigators said Tuesday that Agee's motive in killing his ex-wife, Jennifer Agee, was blackmail and a custody battle over the couple's youngest child.
Although divorced, Jonathan Agee and Jennifer Agee had rekindled their relationship, swapping sexually explicit digital photographs, investigators said Tuesday morning during Agee's sentencing hearing.
Jennifer Agee threatened to send the photos to Jonathan Agee's current wife if he did not give her sole custody of their youngest daughter, investigators said.
Eventually, Jennifer Agee did send a nude photo of Jonathan Agee to his wife, Julia Angell.
The defense, however, told the court that Agee was suffering from "roid rage" from the use of anabolic steroids at the time of Agee's shooting rampage.
Agee testified that his actions were the result of steroid use. He said he became manic depressive.
"My brain kicked off, and my body took over," Agee said of that day. "In my head, I was protecting my family."
On the day of the shootings, Agee said, "I was out of it, but thought I was in control."
Prosecutor Don Caldwell told Agee, "You knew you were using illegal drugs that you say were the cause of this. Nobody forced you to (take the drugs). You did it willingly."
The former deputy convicted in the shooting death of his ex-wife and for shooting a state police sergeant during a high speed chase on I-81 on Memorial Day 2011 was set to be sentenced Tuesday, but the testimony continued into the late afternoon. Judge Charlie Dorsey decided Agee's fate Wednesday afternoon. The three life sentences are for first-degree murder, attempted capital murder and aggravated malicious wounding.
On Jan. 11 in Roanoke City Circuit Court, Agee pleaded "no contest" to first-degree murder in the shooting death of his ex-wife, Jennifer Agee. He was also convicted of using a firearm in the commission of murder.
Then on Jan. 22 in Montgomery County, Agee pleaded "no contest" to attempted capital murder, aggravated malicious wounding, using a firearm in the commission of a felony and eluding police in the shooting of Virginia State Police Sgt. Matt Brannock during a car chase on I-81 after Agee shot and killed his ex-wife in Roanoke. Brannock was hit twice, once in the thigh and once in the pelvic area.
Jennifer Louise Agee, 30, of Salem was shot at a Sheetz in Roanoke on May 30, 2011, when Jonathan Agee drove a marked police vehicle into the store's parking lot behind his ex-wife's vehicle, pulled a gun and shot her, according to Roanoke City Police. Jennifer Agee later died at Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital.
After the shooting, Jonathan Agee left the parking lot and headed west on Route 460, where he was spotted by Brannock, who was traveling east on Route 460, according to the state police. When Brannock turned around to follow the car, Agee activated the police car's lights and siren, and continued on Route 460.
Agee then took the off-ramp for I-81 at Exit 118, according to the state police. Agee and Brannock's vehicles collided near mile marker 125. That's when Agee got outside his patrol car and shot about 20 rounds from an assault rifle at Brannock's vehicle.
Agee jumped back into his car and continued again on I-81. He finally stopped on the Ironto exit ramp in Montgomery County, got out of the vehicle and engaged in a gun fight with two state police troopers who were pursuing him. Agee was shot multiple times in the gun fight, but neither of the those two troopers was injured.
SEE MORE DETAILS IN FRIDAY'S EDITION OF THE FRANKLIN NEWS-POST.