Shooter stays free with plea decision
A Spotsylvania County man who had a 14-hour standoff with police in August—wounding three deputies—will not serve any jail time.
Michael Smith Antosh, 62, “stipulated his guilt” Thursday as part of a plea agreement in Spotsylvania Circuit Court.
He was convicted of three counts of attempted unlawful wounding, which were amended from attempted capital murder of law enforcement officers. Three firearms charges were dropped as part of the agreement.
He was sentenced to 15 years in prison with all of that time suspended on the condition that he be of good behavior for 20 years, remain under mental health and medical supervision, provide monthly blood samples and forfeit all of his firearms and weapons.
Spotsylvania Commonwealth’s Attorney Bill Neely said the sentence took into account Antosh’s age, poor health, lack of a criminal record and the fact that he was found to be legally insane at the time of the incident.
He also said that if he was found innocent by reason of insanity, he could have been committed to a mental facility for as little as 45 days or the rest of his life. Neither side wanted to take that chance.
Defense Attorney Peter Greenspun argued at an earlier bond hearing that Antosh had stopped taking medication in June for a bipolar disorder he’s had since the early 1990s. As a result, his behavior was described by his family as more and more unusual and bizarre.
“This is a mental health case,” Greenspun said in court Thursday. “He is a far different person today than he was that day.”
Standing up and dressed in a dark jacket and tan slacks, Antosh did appear to be a completely different person than the frail man in a wheelchair who appeared in court in October.
“We don’t handle mental health very well,” stated Judge J. Howe Brown. “Here, there were signs that things were going wrong. Family and friends knew, but what could they do?
“We don’t have the ability to say someone is a danger until they become a danger,” he continued. “I hope someday we can figure out how to handle it.”
The Antosh situation took a dangerous turn last August after his wife, Marty, requested an emergency commitment order. She told police that he had a small collection of rifles and two 5-gallon buckets of ammunition.
Authorities responded to the 10300 block of Gordon Road around noon on Aug. 31 to serve the emergency custody order on Antosh. The order, signed by a judge, required that he be placed in a mental health facility for 72 hours for an evaluation. Antosh shares the residence with his wife, who was not home at the time.
When police arrived that Saturday, Antosh barricaded himself in his house and threatened deputies with a high-power rifle. During the nearly 14-hour standoff, Antosh was uncooperative, and negotiation efforts did not progress, police said.
Antosh is accused of shooting from inside his home around 2:30 a.m. the next day, then coming outside with a high-power semi-automatic rifle and continuing to fire at police.
Antosh was shot in the chest and in the thigh, which severed his femoral artery and nerve, and caused him to collapse on the garage floor, according to court records.
Stafford County deputies assisted Spotsylvania officers, and during the exchange, two Stafford deputies were wounded.
Spotsylvania Commonwealth’s Attorney William Neely said one of the deputies was shot in the neck and the other was shot in the thigh. The two injured deputies were transported to Mary Washington Hospital, where they were treated and released the same day.
A Spotsylvania deputy was hit in the chest, but not injured because of a bulletproof vest.
Civil cases against Antosh are pending by the officers, Neely said.
A request for nearly $86,000 in restitution, which is what it cost the Sheriff’s Office to bring Antosh in that day, was denied.
Portsia Smith: 540/374-5419