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

Union Hall man faces up to 6 years in quarry case
Two trucks burned to hide evidence of theft
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Roger Lee Brown Jr.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

By KEN BRADLEY - Staff Writer

A Union Hall man faces up to six years in prison after pleading guilty Monday in Franklin County Circuit Court to destroying two trucks belonging to Jack's Mountain Quarry in Glade Hill in April.

Roger Lee Brown Jr., 30, pleaded "no contest" to felony destruction of property and guilty to a misdemeanor charge of illegally entering private property.

No contest is a form of a guilty plea where the defendant maintains his innocence but acknowledges there is enough evidence to convict.

Two arson charges against Brown were dismissed.

During a summary of the evidence, prosecutor Cooper Brown said deputies responded to a vehicle fire call on Jack's Mountain Road on April 27. The deputies discovered two burned trucks, a 1999 Ford and a 2002 Ford, in a field about a half-mile from the quarry.

Investigators said Roger Lee Brown Jr. and Joseph Edward James, 33, of Pulaski County drove 4-wheelers around the quarry gate to gain entry, Cooper Brown said.

Brown and James had planned to steal copper from the quarry, but failed to find the copper. So they decided to take the trucks, break them down and sell the parts for scrap, Cooper Brown said. While driving away from the quarry, one of the trucks struck a tree stump in the field and got stuck, and the men fled.

A little while later, the trucks were torched to destroy evidence, the prosecutor added. James told investigators that Brown went back to the field and burned the trucks using brake fluid as an accelerant.

A sentencing hearing for Brown is set for Dec. 19 at 3:30 p.m. in circuit court.

James pleaded guilty in July to damaging the two trucks and trespassing on the quarry property. Two arson charges against James were dismissed on the condition that he pay restitution of $10,860.

James' sentencing hearing is set for Nov. 6 at 3:15 p.m. in circuit court.

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