The week in review

Most disturbing discovery: A motorist reports an unresponsive man in a parked car at the eastbound I-64 rest area near Ivy/Crozet around 8:30am November 26. Virginia State Police determine the man is dead. At press time, state police have not released his name or a cause of death.

Most troubling missing person report: Nineteen-year-old Dashad Smith, a.k.a. Sage, was last seen around 6:30pm November 20 in the 500-block of  West Main Street, according to the Newsplex. The sometimes cross-dressing teen stands 5'11", weighs 130 pounds, and was last seen wearing a black jacket, dark gray sweat pants, black scarf and gray boots. (Anyone with info should call Crimestoppers at 977-4000.)

Most informants: The trial of Joseph Michael Harris, 24, for the 2005 murder of Anthony Lorenzo "Bunny" Johnson includes testimony by Harris' former best friend, Levi Finney, a currently incarcerated felon who says he thought Harris set him up; Paul Brown, a North Carolina federal prison inmate who says he heard Harris say he "shot a dude," and George Chance, who allegedly hears the same remark. Both Brown and Chance say they read a newspaper article about the killing, and both men have testified against other suspects in other cases. Samantha Koon has the story in the Progress.

Most likely a first-period test: A bomb threat is called into Monticello High School at 8:15am Monday, November 26. According to NBC29, the students were evacuated to the football field and then– due to the cold weather– to Cale Elementary. Virginia State Police and four K-9s searched the school, and everyone was allowed back inside at 11:45am.

Worst dog shooting: Michael Mullin, 45, is charged with felony larceny of a dog, larceny of a tracking collar, animal cruelty, and removing a tracking collar, Henry Graff first reported on NBC29. Police say Mullins shot "Bob," a beagle that strayed onto his property November 19 in southern Albemarle during a hunt.

Worst dog attack: A pair of roaming dogs owned by a neighbor maul Trish Cooper's goats to death in Fluvanna November 20, according to NBC29. The dogs elude capture by animal control, and come back to her farm that afternoon and are chasing her chickens when her husband shoots them. Fluvanna doesn't have a leash law, and no criminal charges will be filed.

Worst statistic: Thirteen people die on Virginia roads over the Thanksgiving holiday, up from 11 in 2011, and 10 in 2010. A 17-year-old girl not wearing a seatbelt dies Thanksgiving Day in Buckingham when she runs off the road and slams into a tree.

Latest child predator to be ensnared in Louisa: A jury convicts Richmonder Adam D. Toghill, 32, of soliciting a minor for sex using Craigslist, and a judge sentences him to five years in prison on November 26. Toghill arranged a tryst with a police officer he believed was 13 years old in 2011, according to the Progress.

Fattest paychecks: State employees get a three percent bonus in post-Thanksgiving checks.

Fowlest lawsuit: Albemarlean A. J. Miller files suit after the Zoning Board of Appeals nixes his request to raise chickens at his Bennington Road house, according to another Samantha Koon story. Miller asserts that Albemarle's ordinance violates his Fourteenth Amendment right to “life, liberty, or property.”

Newest market for Albemarle apples: Cuba, according to the Washington Post, which reports that Henry Chiles, 77, patriarch of the family-owned Carter Mountain and Crown Orchards, has expanded to the once trade-embargoed communist country, and that Cuba is Virginia's seventh-largest export market.

Biggest dust-up in the New York Times: The Gray Lady leaps into the frenzy among historians following the release of Henry Wiencek's controversial book, Master of the Mountain: Jefferson and his Slaves. The story even cites the letter from retired Jefferson scholar Lucia Stanton blasting Wiencek following our October 17 cover story on the book's release. No mention of Wiencek's rejoinder.

1 comment

State Police have now ID'd the man found at the rest stop as 33-year-old James A. Randle of Waynesboro. A release says his body has been sent to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Richmond for examination and autopsy. --hawes spencer