[at-l] (Damascus) Prosecutor declines to pursue charges

Cody Girl codycodygirl at gmail.com
Thu Jan 27 11:55:55 CST 2011

I went to the Tricities website and posted my thoughts there.  Sorry, wish I
would have saved a copy to share with you, but I wasn't really thinking
about that.  My comments will appear there eventually I suppose.  Anyway, I
just wanted to get on the record with the people of the town that while I
enjoyed my time in Damascus I can't help but think how lucky I was to not be
the next hiker to come along while these guys were on the trail.  I also
challenged them to address this instead of sweeping it under the rug, up
front, at Trail Days.  Who knows what will come of it?
Anyway, that's the only positive thing I could think of to do to get this
off my chest.

On Thu, Jan 27, 2011 at 6:34 AM, RockDancer <rockdancer97 at comcast.net>wrote:

>   This is from yesterday’sTricities.com. I wonder if the prosecutions will
> continue on the lesser charges. --RockDancer
> ABINGDON, Va.<http://www2.tricities.com/topics/types/provinceorstate/tags/virginia/>– The three
> Damascus <http://www2.tricities.com/topics/types/city/tags/damascus/> men
> accused of ambushing two Appalachian Trail hikers in a 30-second cell
> phone<http://www2.tricities.com/topics/types/technology/tags/cellular-telephone/>video titled “Hiker Bashing,” will not be prosecuted.
> Washington County Commonwealth’s Attorney<http://www2.tricities.com/topics/types/position/tags/attorney/> Dennis
> Godfrey<http://www2.tricities.com/topics/types/person/tags/dennis-godfrey/>said the victims, brothers
> Jamie <http://www2.tricities.com/topics/types/person/tags/jamie-gumm/> and
> Zachary Gumm<http://www2.tricities.com/topics/types/person/tags/zachary-gumm/>,
> live in Iowa<http://www2.tricities.com/topics/types/provinceorstate/tags/iowa/>and decided not to return to Abingdon for court proceedings.
> Two days before the Trail Days festival<http://www2.tricities.com/topics/types/entertainmentawardevent/tags/the-trail-days-festival/>in May, 21-year-old Thomas
> Reedy <http://www2.tricities.com/topics/types/person/tags/thomas-reedy/>shot a cell
> phone<http://www2.tricities.com/topics/types/technology/tags/cellular-telephone/>video of his friends, Randy
> Ray Blevins<http://www2.tricities.com/topics/types/person/tags/randy-ray-blevins/>and Caleb
> Dean <http://www2.tricities.com/topics/types/person/tags/caleb-dean/>,
> said Damascus Police<http://www2.tricities.com/topics/types/organization/tags/damascus-police/>
> Chief <http://www2.tricities.com/topics/types/position/tags/chief/> Bill
> Nunley <http://www2.tricities.com/topics/types/person/tags/bill-nunley/>.
> “The plan is, we ride down the trail and the first hiker we see, we knock
> them the f*** out,” Nunley<http://www2.tricities.com/topics/types/person/tags/bill-nunley/>recalled one of the men said in the video. “And then they all laughed,”
> Nunley <http://www2.tricities.com/topics/types/person/tags/bill-nunley/>said.
> The trio pedaled their bicycles to the Creeper Trail<http://www2.tricities.com/topics/types/facility/tags/creeper-trail/>and ran into the Gumm brothers.
> “You could hear them screaming for their lives,” Nunley<http://www2.tricities.com/topics/types/person/tags/bill-nunley/>said.
> The Gumm brothers, 23 and 20 years old, cut their Appalachian Trail hike
> short and left Damascus<http://www2.tricities.com/topics/types/city/tags/damascus/>that night, both bruised and bloodied.
> They did not contact police.
> Three months later, an unrelated drug investigation led police to Reedy<http://www2.tricities.com/topics/types/person/tags/thomas-reedy/>,
> then his phone and the video called “Hiker Bashing” stored there.
> Reedy <http://www2.tricities.com/topics/types/person/tags/thomas-reedy/>,
> Blevins<http://www2.tricities.com/topics/types/person/tags/randy-ray-blevins/>and
> Dean <http://www2.tricities.com/topics/types/person/tags/caleb-dean/> were
> all charged with two counts of malicious wounding, a Class 5 felony, and two
> counts of assault by a mob, a Class 3 felony, punishable by up to 20 years
> in prison. Blevins<http://www2.tricities.com/topics/types/person/tags/randy-ray-blevins/>also was charged with obstruction of justice and resisting arrest, both
> misdemeanors. Those charges are still pending in Washington County General
> District Court<http://www2.tricities.com/topics/types/organization/tags/washington-county-general-district-court/>with a hearing scheduled for March 2.
> The other two aren’t entirely out of the woods yet either.
> Reedy <http://www2.tricities.com/topics/types/person/tags/thomas-reedy/>is being held without bond at the Southwest
> Virginia Regional Jail<http://www2.tricities.com/topics/types/facility/tags/southwest-virginia-regional-jail/>pending a February trial on 52 fraud charges – ranging from obtaining money
> by false pretenses and credit card fraud.
> Caleb Dean<http://www2.tricities.com/topics/types/person/tags/caleb-dean/>,
> too, is awaiting trial for drug possession, distribution of marijuana and
> probation violation.
> Godfrey<http://www2.tricities.com/topics/types/person/tags/dennis-godfrey/>said Wednesday that his office was “ready, willing and able” to prosecute
> the men for the May beating, but the Gumm brothers work and go to school. A
> prosecution could take a week or more and require several trips to Abingdon,
> which the brothers weren’t willing to commit to.
> The county offered to pay for their travel, Godfrey<http://www2.tricities.com/topics/types/person/tags/dennis-godfrey/>said. But the Gumm brothers told
> him <http://www2.tricities.com/topics/types/person/tags/dennis-godfrey/>they’d put the incident behind them and wanted to move on.
> Godfrey<http://www2.tricities.com/topics/types/person/tags/dennis-godfrey/>said that without the victims’ testimony, the case would surely fall apart.
> Any kind of video testimony would require the defendant’s consent, he said.
> And no defense attorney<http://www2.tricities.com/topics/types/position/tags/defense-attorney/>would agree to something that makes the prosecution’s job easier.
> The Gumm brothers took to online hiking forums<http://www2.tricities.com/topics/types/industryterm/tags/online-hiking-forums/>to defend their decision not to testify.
> “We just want this thing to go away,” they wrote. “All of you can see this
> clearly from your own point of view, that of a hiker. But what about the
> point of view of a teenage punk in small town America? To quote a man I
> admire, but don’t quite believe in, turn the other cheek.”
> The Gumm brothers added: “happy hiking all!”
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