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February 6, 2020

Throwback Thursday: Jury convicts on manslaughter

February 1995: Fauquier sheriff’s investigator Joe Hughes (right) tries to calm Early Jenkins, the victim’s brother, after a jury found Faron Morris guilty of manslaughter — not first-degree murder.
25 Years Ago
From The Fauquier Citizen edition of February 10, 1995

Jury recommends 18 years for manslaughter

After two days of testimony by 21 witnesses, lawyers’ compelling closing arguments and 8-1/2 hours of deliberations, a Fauquier County Circuit Court delivered verdicts in a murder trial that seemed to please no one.

The jury last Friday found Faron Morris, 38, of Nokesville, guilty of voluntary manslaughter and two other felonies in the July 9 shooting death of a Manassas man.

The jury recommended the maximum sentence of 18 years for Morris, who shot and killed Larry “L.J.” Jenkins last summer as he backed a pickup truck out of Morris’ driveway on route 761 in eastern Fauquier.

Early Jenkins, the victim’s brother, left the courthouse in tears Friday afternoon, visibly shaken by the jury’s decision. Jenkins and prosecutors wanted Morris convicted of first-degree murder, with a maximum sentence of life in prison.

Defense attorney Roger Inger tried to convince the jury that Morris acted in self defense.

Judge W. Shore Robertson will sentence Morris on March 15.

Board barely backs Route 29 widening

Fauquier’s board of supervisors Tuesday offered a lukewarm endorsement of the plan to widen Route 29 north of Warrenton.

By a 3-2 vote, the board gave symbolic support for the project, which calls for the state to add a third lane on each side of the divided highway from the town limits to Route 605.

The $2.5-million project would make it a six-lane road. The plan also calls for construction of a ramp on the southbound side of the busy highway to connect Route 29 with the planned Route 17 Spur.

Supervisors Georgia Herbert (Scott) and Jim Green (Marshall) voted against the project because of inconsistencies with the county comprehensive plan and the potential impact on the Warrenton Lakes neighborhood.

Local judge and lawyers seek appointments

By month’s end, Circuit Court Judge W. Shore Robertson could be headed for bigger things.

The bar associations in Fauquier and Rappahannock have endorsed Robertson, 55, to fill an opening on the 10-member Virginia Court of Appeals.

Although the General Assembly has yet to act on that appointment, lawyers from Fauquier and Rappahannock have begun to line up political support to succeed Robertson on the 20th Circuit bench if he becomes an appellate judge.

Jeffrey W. Parker, 43, of Sumerduck, and Douglas K. Baumgardner, 44, of Washington, Va., said they will seek the local judgeship if it becomes available.

Commissioner Childs announces retirement

Fauquier County Commissioner of Revenue Alice Jane Childs will retire at the end of the month after 29 years as the county’s chief tax assessor.

Mrs. Childs announced her retirement Tuesday during a closed-door session with the board of supervisors.

During an interview Tuesday afternoon, Mrs. Childs said she wants to leave “for personal reasons” and declined to be more specific. She earns $69,815 annually.

A three-judge panel of the 20th Circuit will appoint a successor to complete the remaining 10 months of Mrs. Childs’ four-year term. Voters will elect a new commissioner of revenue in November.

Deputy Commissioner Ross D’Urso said he plans to apply for the vacancy, but the Opal resident remains undecided about seeking election. D’Urso is treasurer of the Fauquier County Democratic Committee.

Hearth & Home in hot market

Working quietly in a New Baltimore warehouse, the company has helped heat up the fiercely competitive Northern Virginia housing market.

The local division of Hearth & Home Distributors Inc. sells about 4,000 manufactured fireplaces a year — most of them for new houses.

“It’s a good location,” said Jim Clark, who manages he division based in the New Baltimore Business Park. “We can cover down into Fredericksburg very easily. Charlottesville’s just a little too far . . . . But, our territory generally goes up to the Potomac.”

The business has evolved, with gas fireplaces overtaking wood-burning models.

“Now, we’re more like 70 percent gas and 30 percent wood,” Clark said.

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