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Ricky Nelson Matherly’s stepdaughter also pleaded guilty to a lesser charger after an ABC raid.
Thursday, September 19, 2013
Sugar draws more flies than vinegar, it’s said, but last year in South Boston a bulk order of the sweet substance drew the eye of an anonymous tipster, and later the interest of agents from the Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control.
“On July 9, 2012, a citizen called [ABC] Agent Jimmy Lipscombe and told him he saw a man buy a full pallet of sugar” from Supply Line Discounts, Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Dwight Rudd told Judge William Alexander at a hearing Wednesday in Franklin County Circuit Court.
Sugar is used in the production of liquor, and on Wednesday, the man who bought the pallet, Ricky Nelson Matherly, 55, of Penhook, pleaded guilty to illegally manufacturing alcohol. He faces up to five years in prison when he’s sentenced Nov. 21, but saw two related misdemeanors dismissed as part of his plea agreement.
Matherly’s stepdaughter, Debra Nicole Walker, 36, of Rocky Mount, was also charged with making illegal alcohol but pleaded guilty in a separate hearing to a lesser charge of possession of untaxed liquor.
Walker received a 12-month suspended sentence from Alexander and was ordered to pay $1,000 plus court costs within one year. The judge offered her the option of preforming community service, at the rate of $8 an hour, as a method of paying the fines.
Walker, a mother of two, told the judge through her lawyer that she’d been concerned about her stepfather’s health and had simply been helping him with the labor May 6, when Virginia ABC investigators raided Matherly’s site in eastern Franklin County, near Snow Creek. The agents destroyed two 800-gallon black pot stills and seized more than 180 gallons of moonshine with a street value of between $7,000 and $10,000, a Virginia ABC spokeswoman said.
According to ABC, which called it “a mid size operation,” the 1,600 gallons of live mash that were also seized could produce up to 100 gallons of liquor.
Also indicted in the case was Walker’s mother, Debra Adams Walker, 54, of Penhook. She was charged with possessing a firearm as a felon and is due in court Oct. 2.
Matherly was federally convicted of knowingly possessing a distillery and was sentenced to a year in prison in 2005.
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