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Sentencing continued in felony assault on Charlottesville officer

The 23-year-old man convicted in September of feloniously assaulting a Charlottesville police officer will have to wait until March to learn his punishment.

Fredericksburg resident William Bennett Stimpson came to Charlottesville Circuit Court Thursday, but the case was moved by Judge Paul M. Peatross Jr. in order to allow sentencing and a post-trial defense motion to be heard by the judge who oversaw the jury trial.

Judge Richard E. Moore will consider the defense motion to set aside the verdict on March 23, 2023. If he denies that motion, then he may also conduct a sentencing hearing that day.

At the end of a day-long trial on Sept. 26, a local jury found Stimpson guilty of felonious assault of an officer when he attacked Officer Chandler Lee during a 2021 Halloween-weekend confrontation in The Corner district.

Prior to the trial, Stimpson pleaded guilty to simple assault for slapping his girlfriend, the event that precipitated the confrontation with the officer.

Virginia law provides a mandatory minimum six-month jail sentence for assaulting an officer, with a maximum of five years. The slap of the girlfriend is a misdemeanor, which brings a maximum penalty of one year.

While both punishments may be decided in March, a motion recently filed by Stimpson’s attorney, Rhonda Quagliana, indicates that she intends to fight the felony conviction. Her motion attempts to convince Judge Moore that he improperly excluded testimony from the trial and that prosecutor R. Cooper Vaughan improperly argued the closing. Vaughan said by email that he intends to counter that argument with a motion of his own.

Stimpson went free two days after his arrest by posting $2,500 cash bail with terms that include abstinence from alcohol. A June letter from Central Virginia Monitoring—a company whose monitors detect alcohol in the wearer’s perspiration—indicates that Stimpson avoided alcohol and did not tamper with his ankle monitor. The court ruled in July that Stimpson could remove the device.

Stimpson has been ordered to live at his parents’ house in Fredericksburg until the case is finalized.


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