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The Franklin News-Post
P. O. Box 250
310 Main Street, SW
Rocky Mount, Virginia 24151
Fax: 540-483-8013

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Glade Hill exes charged with pointing gun at each other
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Mary Ellen Blankenship
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Friday, May 17, 2013

By K.A. WAGONER - Staff Writer

A Glade Hill woman and her ex-husband were both charged with brandishing a firearm after an altercation at the man's residence Sunday afternoon.

Mary Ellen Blankenship, 49, and Michael Dennis Blankenship, 54, were both also charged with assaulting a family member, according to Capt. Harry Clingenpeel with the Franklin County Sheriff's Office.

Deputies responded to the residence on Old Franklin Turnpike Sunday about 3 p.m. for a fight in progress, Clingenpeel said.

When they arrived, the deputies found the couple outside and a shotgun laying in the yard, he added.

The evidence suggested that each of the suspects had possession of the shotgun at some point during the physical altercation, Clingenpeel said. So both suspects were arrested and a search warrant was obtained for the residence.

During the search, investigators discovered ingredients commonly used in the manufacture of methamphetamine inside the house, Clingenpeel said. No drug charges have been filed at this time, pending lab analysis of the evidence, he added.

Mary Ellen Blankenship was arrested last month after she allegedly fired a handgun at her ex-husband at the same residence beside the old Kwick Kitchen on Route 40 East.

She was charged with discharging a firearm inside an occupied residence and brandishing a firearm.

That arrest on April 17 led to the first search of the residence, during which investigators found evidence of a suspected meth lab on the property, according to Lt. Justin Sigmon. No one was arrested on drug charges at that time, pending lab results.

Those April 17 charges against Mary Ellen Blankenship were dropped (nolle prossed) by the commonwealth's attorney's office Wednesday in Franklin County General District Court. Prosecutor Cooper Brown said the charges were dropped at this time because Mary Ellen Blankenship could face other charges in connection with the first search, but the lab analysis on the evidence seized at the residence on April 17 has not been completed.

The two initial charges will be presented to the grand jury for consideration once the lab analysis is done and a decision is made on any other charges, Brown said.

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