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Commonwealth's Attorney

Posted on: October 27, 2015

Sterling Man Sentenced for Purcellville Robbery

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
October 27, 2015

Contact: Heather F. Williamson
Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office
20 East Market Street
Leesburg, VA 20176-2809
(703) 777-0242

STERLING MAN SENTENCED FOR PURCELLVILLE ROBBERY

JUDGE IMPOSES 58 YEAR SENTENCE, SUSPENDS ALL BUT 18 YEARS

LEESBURG, Virginia – October 14, 2015. Judge Burke F. McCahill sentenced Jodon Laray Harwell, 31, to eighteen years in the Virginia Department of Corrections in connection with an October 2013 robbery in Purcellville. Harwell entered pleas of guilty in Loudoun County Circuit Court on December 8, 2014 to robbery while armed with a deadly weapon, two counts of abduction with the intent to extort money or pecuniary benefit, use of a firearm in the commission of a felony, and use of a firearm in the commission of a felony, second or subsequent offense.

On October 14, 2013, Harwell, along with David Russell, Jr., Dean Ballard and John Barwis, went to visit an acquaintance of one of the men in Purcellville, Virginia. During the course of their visit, Harwell and Russell brandished Uzi-style firearms and pointed them at the victim demanding money and drugs. The victim was then struck causing him to fall to the ground. As the victim attempted to get up, Ballard struck him in the face four to five times with brass knuckles causing him to lose consciousness. While the victim was unconscious, his hands were bound behind his back. Once the victim regained his consciousness, Ballard picked up a machete, placed the machete against the victim’s fingers and threatened to cut off his fingers unless he revealed where the money was. A second victim was bound with duct tape, placed on the ground, and robbed of $10. The four men also stole $700 and a small amount of marijuana from the residence. Following the incident, the men fled to a waiting vehicle and left the apartment complex.

In addition to the eighteen year active sentence, McCahill imposed 40 years of suspended time and ordered $710 restitution be paid to the victims. McCahill further ordered that Harwell be placed on 10 years of supervised probation upon his release from prison, followed by 5 years unsupervised probation.

“Whether one is a user or a dealer of illegal narcotics, they inject themselves into an extremely violent sub-culture that is driven by money and addiction,” said Commonwealth’s Attorney Jim Plowman. “Fortunately, we were able to bring everyone before the court to hold them accountable and nobody was seriously hurt, but it very easily could have ended differently for the victim.”

On December 4, 2014, Barwis plead guilty to robbery while armed with a deadly weapon, two counts of abduction with the intent to extort money or pecuniary benefit, use of a firearm in the commission of a felony, and use of a firearm in the commission of a felony, second or subsequent offense. On March 27, 2015, Barwis was sentenced by Judge Burke F. McCahill to 58 years with all but 9 years and 8 months suspended in the Virginia Department of Corrections, and 8 years of supervised probation upon his release from prison, followed by 7 years of unsupervised probation.

On May 28, 2015, Russell plead guilty to robbery while armed with a deadly weapon, two counts of abduction with the intent to extort money or pecuniary benefit, use of a firearm in the commission of a felony, and use of a firearm in the commission of a felony, second or subsequent offense. Russell is currently being held without bond in the Loudoun County Adult Detention center where he awaits his finals sentencing hearing on January 14, 2016 at 2:00 p.m. in Loudoun County Circuit Court. Russell is also scheduled to be sentenced on January 14, 2016, for numerous probation violations and one count of possession with intent to distribute marijuana in an unrelated incident.

On July 15, 2015, Ballard plead guilty to robbery while armed with a deadly weapon, two counts of abduction with the intent to extort money or pecuniary benefit, use of a firearm in the commission of a felony, and use of a firearm in the commission of a felony, second or subsequent offense. Ballard is currently being held without bond in the Loudoun County Adult Detention center where he awaits his finals sentencing hearing on November 2, 2015 at 3:00 p.m. in Loudoun County Circuit Court.

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