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Free Lance-Star reporter Robyn Sidersky covers Caroline County government and schools. You can reach her at 540/374-5413 or rsidersky@freelancestar.com. You can follow coverage on Facebook or Twitter as well.

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Three plead in crossbow case

Three area men who were involved in a home invasion in Caroline County where two women were sexually assaulted and a man was shot in the neck with a crossbow pleaded guilty in circuit court today.

As part of a plea agreement, Ronnie Steven Neff II, 27, of Spotsylvania was sentenced to 60 years in prison with all but 25 years suspended.  Joseph Daniel Hinson, 23,  of Fredericksburg pleaded no contest and was sentenced to 35 years in prison with all but six years and eight months suspended in a plea agreement. James Eddie Morrison, 30, of Stafford will be sentenced on June 2 and is facing life plus 58 years in prison. He did not accept a plea deal.

According to the evidence presented by prosecutors Tony Spencer and Glen Henkle, the three men conspired on October 18 to rob a resident of a home on Mount Road in Caroline County, who they suspected had cash and narcotics. The men knocked on the door and forced their way in once the door was opened, according to prosecutors. Morrison and Hinson were both wearing masks.

The four people inside the home were held at gunpoint, Spencer said. Neff sexually assaulted the two females and Morrison shot one of the males in the ear and neck with a crossbow. He had to have reconstructive surgery to have his ear reattached and suffered nerve damage.

While fleeing in a pickup truck, Morrison missed a turn and flipped the truck into a ditch yards away from the home. Neff, who had passed out in the ditch, was taken into custody that night. Morrison was found by a sheriff’s deputy walking along the woods in the Woodford area the next day and Hinson was detained with help from the Fredericksburg Police Department.

Neff and Morrison initially pleaded not guilty, but later changed their pleas after hearing testimony by eight witnesses. Hinson would have testified against the other two had the trial continued.

Neff’s landlord, Shirley Miller testified that he was two months behind in rent and had threatened him with an eviction notice. She said he told her he would have the money the following Monday, which was the day after the invasion.

Neff pleaded guilty to statutory burglary, conspiracy to commit statutory burglary, use of a firearm in the commission of burglary, malicious wounding use of a firearm in the commission of malicious wounded and possession of a firearm by a felon.

He apologized to the victims and said he was drunk that night. “I hope I don’t have to bother you all any further and you can get on with your lives,” he said in court.

Morrison pleaded guilty to statutory burglary, conspiracy to commit statutory burglary, malicious wounding, use of a firearm in the commission of a felony and wearing a mask in public.

Hinson, who was given a lighter sentence for his cooperation and because he stopped Neff from continuing the sexual assault, pleaded no contest to armed burglary, conspiracy and wearing a mask in public.

All three are being held in the Pamunkey Regional Jail.

Spencer said the sentences imposed today were appropriate considering the seriousness of the crimes.

“Hinson was clearly the least culpable… Neff was very intoxicated and I don’t think he would have done something like this if he were sober. Morrison is dangerous, even when he is stone cold sober. He is looking at life plus 58 years and I intend to get every minute of that imposed,” Spencer said after court.

Three of the victims were at the trial today and said they were satisfied with the outcome.

The fourth victim, William Cox, was arrested in October and charged with possession of cocaine with the intent to distribute, possession of marijuana with the intent to distribute and obstructing justice. he will also appear in court on June 2.

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Permalink: http://news.fredericksburg.com/carolinecrossroads/2010/04/20/three-plead-in-crossbow-case/