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Blue Ridge Leader News – February 5, 2012

February 5, 2012 by filed under Loudoun County, News, Tim Jon with BRLN No Comments

Good for You, Son!

Hats off to the kid from Ashburn who did the right thing- this past week- when a stranger invited him into his vehicle. Word from the Sheriff has it that a couple of men in a white pickup pulled up to a home in the Ashburn Farm area on Wednesday afternoon- and asked an eight-year-old boy to hop into their truck.

The youngster ran inside and told one of his parents; by the time they looked outside, the men had taken off, but some neighbors said they’d seen a vehicle in the vicinity fitting the description (an older model two-door, white pickup, riding low to the ground, with a loud muffler).

The only leads on the suspects tell us they’re looking for two young Caucasian men- probably in their early 20’s.

Let’s hope the next kid reacts the same way.

Jailhouse Death Mystery
Lots of questions remain unanswered in the sudden death of an inmate at the local jailhouse; 45 year old Scott A Landrum of Sterling succumbed- this past Friday- to the effects of what the Loudoun Sheriff’s described as a ‘medical emergency.’ He died at Cornwall Hospital in Leesburg after an Officer discovered the inmate exhibiting (as yet undisclosed) symptoms in his cell earlier that day.

Landrum had been booked into the Adult Detention Center on Thursday afternoon- on violations of a restraining order- the details of which also remain undisclosed.

This protective order had been filed just the day before the man’s arrest.

And so- our hearing more about this case hinges on several factors: From what pre-existing medical conditions did Scott Landrum suffer, and how informed was the Sheriff’s Office of these? Was he taking medication, and did he have access to this during his short incarceration?

Mind you- these are just some of the possibilities- but you can be sure that his family- and, potentially, his survivors’ attorney- will want specific answers to these and countless other questions.

And, then again, this may have been just a sudden, medical emergency; they do occur, after all.

Condolences to the man’s family and friends.

Not Getting Away with Murder

Meanwhile, a local murder case draws closer to conclusion; 48 year old Robert Roy pled guilty- this past week- to charges stemming from the shooting death of Patrick Blair Hornbaker. That crime occurred in May of 2001; Roy essentially admitted to entering the victim’s home on Charles Town Pike that day, and standing by while his accomplice committed the homicide.

That other suspect- Leo Durocher (no- not that Leo Durocher!) faces a first degree murder trial, scheduled to begin at the end of April.

The two face a host of other charges: breaking and entering, grand larceny, use of a firearm in commission of a felony, and so on.

Patrick Hornbaker was 32 years old at the time of his death; he’d been taking pain medications in recovering from an auto accident, and the presence of these drugs on the premises may have played a role in the robbery and murder.

Back to Robert Roy; he faces a sentence of anywhere from 18 to 27 years in prison on the charge of second degree murder and other, lesser counts- including responsibility for at least two other incidents in the days leading up to the Hornbaker slaying.

He comes in for sentencing at the end of May.

The Price of Hatred
Now, in the case of a Sterling woman’s admission to attempting murder for hire, she (fortunately) ran into a guy who went straight to the FBI; Anne Jenene Cinnamon plead guilty this past week to setting up payment for a man to kill a woman (who vied for the attentions of her boyfriend at the time). She faces 10 years in prison for making a $100 down payment on the deal back in the fall of 2001; while Cinnamon believed that her contact was setting up the ‘hit,’ he was actually working with the FBI in recording their conversations and meetings.

Her arrest came in October of that year.

It seems she eventually agreed to pay a total of $500 to have both the ‘other woman’ and her boyfriend killed.

The defendant comes in for sentencing in early May.

Jealousy- taken to this extreme- can be an expensive, dangerous and destructive pastime.

Big, Slow-Moving Vehicles

If you’re one of the countless drivers on eastbound Route Seven each morning, you might want to reconsider your plans for a couple of days this coming week. Delivery of some very large components for the future Dulles Rail Project show up on the calendar for Tuesday and Wednesday morning; commuters should be on the lookout for these behemoths moving all the way from Winchester to Beaulah Road near Tysons Corner on those mornings.
Project leaders plan to start at around 7:30 and reach their destination by about 9:30; my estimate would be that these things always take much longer than anticipated, but I hope I’m wrong.

It looks like they have three such deliveries to make on each day.

The rolling blockade will include three large trucks and at least three pilot cars; they should be easy to spot.

No word on what speed they’ll be driving; I would guess it’ll be pretty slow.

Just the Wrong Chemistry

Looks like things’ll get back to readin,’ rightin,’ and ‘rithmatic at a local private school- after what could have been a far more dangerous incident this past week. No students were involved in Thursday morning’s chemical spill, but one Middleburg Academy instructor received medical treatment- in the aftermath of the mishap in one of the science labs.

School Administrators evacuated the entire facility during the cleanup- done by a local Hazmat team from Loudoun County Fire and Rescue.

Medical staff from a local hospital released the teacher later that day.

I would imagine everyone at the local school learned some very practical lessons from the incident.

This One could Drive Me to…

What did I tell ya? It took an a local assembly of elected leaders several months to come to the same conclusion at which that this writer had arrived- on a costly and politically embarrassing matter from the inner workings of the government halls.

The Loudoun Supervisors (the newly-elected Board, I might add) finally voted to settle on the outstanding legal issues involving a local reporter, the Freedom of Information Act, and attorney fees for the County’s Board of Equalization.

You’ll recall that I wrote- back in early November- that the BOE needed to apologize to Beverly Bradford (reporter for the Patch online news service) and settle this thing financially- while the settling was good, so to speak.

You’ll also remember that she’d been escorted from one of the BOE’s meetings after taking a photo and recording the proceedings; Bradford filed suit, and and the Board of Equalization retained local legal whiz John Flannery as their counsel.

Now, several months have passed, the lawsuit’s been in and out of the local courts, the BOE’s legal fees have been growing like creeping Charlie, and the whole mess is looking less and less like a victory for local government.
Sort of a miniature version of America’s involvement in Vietnam.

The Board of Equalization- at last word- still vehemently claimed that any recording or photographing of their proceedings must be cleared before the fact, and that Beverly Bradford violated their rules of order; her suit called upon the Freedom of Information Act.

I’d say it’s a very expensive and embarrassing tempest in a teapot.

I would never question John Flannery’s value as an attorney, but the County Government had already moved $25 Grand from its legal contingency fund (this was back in September) to cover legal fees in the fiasco, and they were asking for another $35 G’s- just to be on the safe side- which the previous Board of Supervisors denied, and the New Board- this past week- approved.

What I’m trying to say is that I believe his talents could be put to far better use, but hey- I’m just sayin.’

You know- I normally drink coffee while writing news, but this story has me considering my bottle of Virginia Gentleman- kept in my freezer- used only for medicinal purposes, of course.

For the Handful of Voters in…

And, Loudoun’s littlest Town wants to be just like its biggest; well, sort of. Officials in the small community of Hillsboro received word from the House of Delegates that they may be able to move their municipal elections to fall, to coincide with the larger, state and national balloting. The Town of Leesburg had just gone through the same process, to switch its campaign season to November from May.

The Electoral Board had informed officials in Hillsboro that it could save money in the deal, so they chose to seek permission from the Virginia Legislature.

Their request now goes on to the Senate.

The House vote- this past week- came by unanimous decision.

Tim Jon for the Blue Ridge Leader

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