The Franklin News-Post|
P. O. Box 250
310 Main Street, SW
Rocky Mount, Virginia 24151
Roger Earl Davis
Wednesday, August 7, 2013
By K.A. WAGONER - Staff Writer
A Redwood man pleaded guilty Monday in Franklin County Circuit Court to shooting a rifle at two deputies near his home on March 31.
Roger Earl Davis, 68, faces up to 30 years in prison after pleading guilty to two counts of attempted malicious wounding, possession of a firearm after having been convicted of a felony and felony property destruction.
Davis also pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor charges of reckless handling of a firearm and property destruction. Each carries a maximum 12-month jail sentence.
Two felony charges of using a firearm in the commission of a felony were dismissed as part of a plea agreement.
Davis was initially charged with two counts of attempted capital murder of a law enforcement officer, but those charges were reduced to attempted malicious wounding by the prosecution in June before the charges were presented to a grand jury.
During Davis' preliminary hearing in May, Franklin County Deputy J.D. Hylton testified that he and Deputy C.T. Mayo responded to a call on Meadow Farm Lane in Redwood on March 31 about 6:15 p.m.
A neighbor, who also testified at the preliminary hearing, said Davis was "sliding" around in his yard and had struck an outbuilding with his vehicle. Later, the neighbor said he heard "shots" nearby and decided to call the police.
After the uniformed deputies arrived, they saw a man matching the suspect's description in a nearby field, carrying a gas can and a rifle, Hylton testified.
At one point, the suspect dropped the gas can and continued walking toward the deputies, Hylton said.
The deputies commanded the suspect, whom Hylton identified as Davis in the courtroom, to drop the firearm.
"At that point, the suspect leveled the rifle and pulled the trigger," Hylton said.
The single shot was fired in the direction of the deputies from about 35 yards away, Hylton said.
Hylton and Mayo flanked the suspect, approaching from both sides with their weapons drawn on the suspect, he said. The suspect lowered the barrel of the rifle and eventually dropped the gun.
After the suspect was apprehended, Hylton testified that he noticed smoke about 50 yards away, which was billowing from a burning tractor.
The tractor belonged to another neighbor, Allen said, and cost more than $1,000, which led to the felony property damage charge.
At Davis' plea hearing Monday, Franklin County Commonwealth's Attorney Tim Allen said the Kubota tractor was valued in excess of $12,000.
The gas can and the .22 caliber rifle were recovered from the field as evidence, along with a .22 caliber slug, Hylton said.
Judge W.N. Alexander asked Allen Monday if he knew why Davis behaved in such a manner. Allen said Davis appeared intoxicated at the time of the incident. Davis' relatives say he is a nice guy when he's not drinking, but when he is drinking, he gets "out of control," Allen added.
Davis is being held in the Western Virginia Regional Jail until his sentencing hearing, set for Oct. 15 at 3 p.m. in circuit court.