An Albemarle County grand jury will consider two felony charges lodged against a Crozet man accused of forcing himself upon an ex-girlfriend in her Keene residence just before Christmas last year.
After an emotional hearing in Albemarle General District Court Thursday, a judge has agreed with the prosecution that there is probable cause to charge 50-year-old Theodore Anthony Meadows with abduction and strangulation.
“I’ve never seen him that angry,” Teresa Kincaid testified during the hourlong preliminary hearing, describing Meadows’ behavior on Dec. 23. “He was pushing me around.”
Kincaid has known Meadows for years and the two have dated, though their relationship was not always pleasant. In 2020, Meadows was convicted in Albemarle Juvenile & Domestic Relations Court of assault and battery against Kincaid, and a protective order was instituted.
Kincaid told the court the two were still in contact, however, and on Dec. 22 of last year she gave him a ride to Crozet, where he lives. The next day, she said, he showed up at her house in Keene.
“He knocked on my door, and I opened the door,” she said. “He pushed his way in.”
She said the next couple of hours were mayhem: Meadows knocked down her Christmas tree, swung it at her and chased her around the house. She said her effort to escape out the back door was thwarted by a deadbolt lock.
“I tried to get out the front door originally,” she testified. “He would come up and slam the door.”
Meadows, dressed in the horizontal stripes of a jail jumpsuit, craned forward to hear the accusations through Kincaid’s tears and her face mask. She asserted that he seized her telephone, car keys, wallet and purse. And then, she said, Meadows went for her neck.
“He had his hand around my neck,” she said. “I kept screaming; I told him I couldn’t breathe.”
She said that Meadows shifted his hand to cover her nostrils.
“And then there was a period I don’t really remember,” testified Kincaid. “I’m not sure if I passed out because of everything that was going on.”
She told the court that she found herself on the floor with Meadows standing over her.
“He told me I was faking and I need to get the F up,” she testified. “I remember him saying something like we’re going for a ride.”
She said she feigned acquiescence.
“I was trying to protect myself,” she testified. “I was hoping that if I could get outside I could get away from him.”
She said that Meadows said he needed to get something from the back bedroom and briefly disappeared from view.
“When he did that,” she said, “I took off for the front door.”
Kincaid said she ran through the forest and began pounding on a neighbor’s door.
“That’s when a lady came to the door,” said the witness through sobs.
Albemarle County police officer Aaron Pace testified that he found Kincaid at a neighbor’s house and was told Meadows had vowed to kill any law enforcement agents trying to enter her house.
“We went inside the house with guns drawn,” Pace told the court.
Pace said that as officers were in the basement of Kincaid’s house, he saw a pile of clothes on the floor with a hand sticking out. It was Meadows.
Meadows was arrested and charged with assault and battery. Three days later, Kincaid met another officer, Camden Layman, in the lobby of the county police department. There, she recounted details from the incident: the hands on her neck, Meadows blocking the exit, losing and regaining consciousness. Those assertions led to the felony abduction and strangulation charges, Layman wrote in his criminal complaint.
However, Meadows’ defense attorney, Lacey Parker of the Office of the Public Defender, seemed skeptical.
“You told officer Layman he put both hands around your neck. Your testimony today is he held a forearm against your neck?”
“I don’t know exactly where his hand was,” replied Kincaid.
“I’m asking you to clarify,” said Parker. “At no point was his hand was on your neck.”
“Yes it was,” said Kincaid.
Parker then called officer Layman as a defense witness. He testified that Kincaid seemed traumatized by the incident, so much so that heading into the Dec. 26 interview she had difficulty walking.
Parker went on to argue the strangulation charge should be dropped because neither officer reported any visible wound or even discoloration on Kincaid’s neck, a prerequisite to a strangulation charge.
However, prosecutor Susan Baumgartner said the strangulation charge was bolstered by testimony from Kincaid and both officers about Kincaid’s dazed appearance, what both lawyers called “brain fog.”
“That, in and of itself, would be a wounding or bodily injury,” said Baumgartner.
Judge Matthew Quatrara agreed. He said that at this stage of the legal process, the standard is a preponderance of the evidence, and he moved the case to be heard by a grand jury in Albemarle County Circuit Court.
“Obviously in the circuit court, the standard will be much different,” said Quatrara. “It will rise to beyond a reasonable doubt.”
In addition to the two felonies that moved forward Thursday, the assault and battery charge and charge of violating the prior protective order also moved up.
The judge also entered a new protective order that bars Meadows from any contact with Kincaid.