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He has requested to plead to charges he faces in Montgomery Co. related to a trooper’s shooting.
KYLE GREEN | The Roanoke Times
Former Franklin County sheriff’s deputy Jonathan Ashley Agee raises his hand before entering a no contest plea to first-degree murder in his ex-wife Jennifer Agee's death.
Friday, January 18, 2013
The stage is set for former Franklin County sheriff’s deputy Jonathan Agee to be found guilty of not only murdering his ex-wife but also shooting and injuring a state police sergeant.
Agee has requested to plead no contest to the charges he faces in Montgomery County related to the shooting of Sgt. Matthew Brannock , county Commonwealth’s Attorney Mary Pettitt announced Thursday.
Pettitt’s announcement came six days after Agee pleaded no contest in Roanoke Circuit Court to the first-degree murder of his ex-wife, Jennifer Agee, and the use of a gun to commit a murder.
The Roanoke charges stem from a public shooting on Memorial Day 2011 that left Jennifer Agee dead in the parking lot of a Roanoke convenience store.
Shortly after the shooting at the Sheetz on Williamson Road, Brannock was injured by gunfire on Interstate 81 in Montgomery County while he took part in the pursuit of the gunman. Jonathan Agee was later charged in Roanoke and Montgomery County as the lone person responsible for the shootings .
Agee, 33, is charged in Montgomery County with attempted capital murder, aggravated malicious wounding, use of a firearm in the commission of a felony and felony eluding for the events that left Brannock injured. Agee is scheduled to enter no-contest pleas on Jan. 22 in Montgomery County.
Agee had been facing a Montgomery County jury trial on March 4, but Pettitt said Thursday that Agee requested that his court date be moved in order to enter the pleas.
Agee’s no-contest pleas mean he doesn’t dispute the charges and accepts that the prosecution has enough evidence to convict him. It allows him to avoid admitting he committed the crimes, but the conviction and sentence are the same as if he had pleaded guilty.
The no-contest plea eliminates the majority of reasons that a defendant might be able to successfully appeal his case, Pettitt wrote in an email.
It also saves the taxpayer money because the cost of a jury trial is eliminated, she wrote.
Pettitt said that it is, of course, the defendant’s right to enter a no-contest plea.
After Agee’s plea in Roanoke, Circuit Court Judge Charlie Dorsey found Agee guilty of first-degree murder and use of a gun to commit a murder and will set his prison term once a pre-sentence report is made, probably within 60 to 90 days.
As part of his plea agreement in Roanoke, prosecutors dismissed three counts against Agee of shooting into an occupied vehicle, and they agreed to allow Agee to consolidate all of his sentences into one hearing if he’s able to resolve his Montgomery County charges before his Roanoke pre-sentence report is complete.
Pettitt said Thursday that her office will seek a life sentence for Agee.
After going on medical leave for his injuries, Brannock left the state police later in 2011 and was hired as director of operations at Martinsville Speedway.
Staff writer Neil Harvey contributed to this story.
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