If you don’t remember my last post on this subject, I don’t blame you – it’s been a while. Just to refresh your memory:
Almost a half-hour before Jennifer Carter Agee was shot to death in the parking lot of a Sheetz convenience store in Roanoke on Memorial Day 2011, the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office was warned that her sheriff’s deputy ex-husband, Jonathan Agee, had a rifle and was driving to Salem to kill her.
But [then-Sheriff] Hunt told his dispatch center not to issue a “be on the lookout” alert to other law enforcement agencies, saying he would take care of the situation himself, according to a sheriff’s office radio call log. He ordered a dispatcher “not to mention anything,” that log shows.
[Source: Roanoke Times article dated 1 June 2012]
As I have noted before, it is entirely possible that Jennifer Agee would still be alive had Hunt not withheld critical, urgent information from the neighboring agencies. They could have found her before her husband did and taken her into protective custody, or they could have found and stopped him before he found her. Instead, we have an innocent woman murdered by her ex-husband in front of their daughter, and a State Trooper injured in the line of duty.
Others agreed. Back in June, after an investigation, a special prosecutor charged Hunt with the common law crime of “misconduct in office”.
Well, on Tuesday, we saw some infinitesimal measure of justice delivered, when Hunt was convicted on that charge.
A prosecutor and a defense attorney questioned more than 20 witnesses across seven hours at a bench trial Tuesday in Franklin County General District Court, all to probe one issue:
Was former Sheriff Ewell Hunt guilty of misconduct in office, based on his handling of the warnings that preceded a fatal Memorial Day 2011 shooting rampage believed to have been committed by one of Hunt’s former deputies?
Once testimony was heard and arguments made, retired General District Court Judge John Quigley took just a few brief moments to announce his decision.
“I don’t have a problem with what he did. It’s what he didn’t do,” Quigley declared, and found Hunt guilty of the misdemeanor offense.
Sadly, it’s only a $500 fine and a 30 day suspended jail sentence, not even the full sentence available. Additionally, Hunt has already filed his appeal to the Circuit Court, where the case will be completely re-tried. But if it sticks, it will at least be a permanent stain on his official record.
It will match nicely with the stain on his honour.
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[Source: Roanoke Times article, retrieved 9/26/12]
(h/t to reader Dwight Brown for reminding me about it. Thanks!)