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Lawsuit alleges false arrest in Colonial Beach case

A lawsuit is moving forward against a Colonial Beach police officer and a Westmoreland County prosecutor brought by a man who claims he was falsely accused of attempted murder.

A three-hour settlement conference is scheduled for Oct 16. to hear the case, which was filed by Peter Willis, 44, against Westmoreland Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Edward O’Shea and Lt. Kevin Blevins Jr., of the Colonial Beach Police Department.

Willis’ complaint stems from a March 15, 2011, arrest on charges of attempted first-degree murder, aggravated malicious wounding and abduction of his then-girlfriend Carey Groendal.

At the time of his arrest, Willis was an employee of the Prince William County School Board, according to the suit.

After spending 349 days in the Northern Neck Regional Jail, Willis was acquitted of all charges, according to the suit.

Willis alleges that his arrest and subsequent charges were largely based on statements made by Groendal, who claimed Willis tried to kill her on March 8, 2011. The lawsuit alleges that Blevins and O’Shea were presented with evidence that showed Groendal’s claim to be false and “engaged in numerous acts of misconduct during the investigation and subsequent prosecution.”

Willis filed four complaints against Blevins for false arrest, malicious prosecution, fabrication of evidence and conspiracy to fabricate evidence.

Willis’ complaint against O’Shea claims that he conspired with Blevins to fabricate evidence against him.

Similar complaints were also filed against former Police Chief Kevin Blevins Sr., who is the police lieutenant’s father, and the town of Colonial Beach asserting that officials there failed to properly train, supervise or control their police officers. Those complaints were later dismissed.

Willis’ attorney, Shannon Dillion, and Blevins’ attorney, Jennifer Lee Parrish, declined to comment on the case.

Portsia Smith: 540/374-5419