By Nancy Drury Duncan –
A plea agreement was reached between Danny Chris Rasmussen III, 35, of Mears, and the commonwealth.
Rasmussen was charged with strangulation, abduction, and assault on a family member. According to the terms of the agreement, Rasmussen pleaded guilty to strangulation. In exchange, the charges of abduction and assault on a family member were dismissed.
Rasmussen was sentenced to two years with all but 45 days suspended. He is ordered to be on supervised probation for three years and to be on good behavior for five years.
On June 28, 2021, police were called to the home of Rasmussen’s estranged wife because he attacked her. Rasmussen had been drinking and was looking at the woman’s cellphone. He saw messages from a man and became furious, said Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Michael Baker.
“He pushed her up against a wall and grabbed her by her throat, strangling her.” A short time later, he looked at her phone again and assaulted her again. This happened three times, Baker said. He said the woman had bruising on her neck and difficulty breathing.
As the argument continued, Rasmussen took a clothesline and tied it to a doorknob to keep her in the room. “She got away,” Baker said. Afterwards, he said Rasmussen called his wife’s mother and told her he had “messed up” and tried to choke her.
“He is a completely different man than he was that night,” said defense attorney Isabel Kaldenbach.
Baker told the court he entered into the agreement because Rasmussen had been cooperative with his wife concerning visits with his children and because he was needed in a family business. According to the terms of the agreement Rasmussen will be allowed to serve his time on weekends.
At his arraignment, Charles Anthony Gaskins Jr., 43, of New Church, entered a plea of not guilty to a charge of aggravated sexual battery of a victim under the age of 13. He asked to be tried by a jury. His trial is set for Sept. 22.
Mark Emanuel Sharp, 45, of Melfa, was sentenced to be on good behavior for one year as a result of a January 2020 incident.
A Virginia state trooper observed a speeding car. The officer attempted to make a traffic stop but the car did not immediately stop. The officer said Sharp was verbally abusive and acting erratically.
He pleaded guilty to misdemeanor obstruction in a plea agreement with the commonwealth a year ago. The terms were that Sharp would be on probation for one year and adjudication of the felony eluding charge would be withheld.
Sharp is a military veteran who was honorably discharged from service and suffers from PTSD, said Commonwealth’s Attorney Spencer Morgan. He said Sharp has been attending treatment at a Veteran’s Administration hospital and is now a mentor in that program. He said he wished to dismiss the felony eluding charge against Sharp.
“Mr. Sharp has kept up his end of the agreement and has worked very hard,” he said. He asked for a suspended sentence for the misdemeanor conviction of obstruction.
Substitute Judge William R. Savage III found Sharp guilty of misdemeanor obstruction, and dismissed the eluding charge. He ordered him to be on good behavior for a year.
James Kirk Taylor, 43, of Greenbackville, pleaded guilty to four counts of shoplifting in a plea agreement with the commonwealth. He shoplifted from Food Lion stores in both Onley and Oak Hall and from Walmart in Onley. He is barred from all three of those stores forever, said Commonwealth’s Attorney Morgan. He was sentenced to three years on each charge to run concurrently, with all but nine months suspended on each. He will be on supervised probation for three years.
Abraham Leonel Gomez, 29, of Washington, D.C, pleaded guilty to forgery and giving false information to a law enforcement officer in a plea agreement with the commonwealth.
In 2019, a Chincoteague police officer issued a summons to Gomez for shoplifting at a Shore Stop, said Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Baker. He identified himself to police as Jose Diaz. That charge was later dismissed. He was also issued a summons as Jose Diaz in 1992. That charge was also dismissed.
In 2019, a rape was reported on Chincoteague and a person who identified himself as Jose Diaz was arrested. In this case, the alleged victim left the area and that case was dismissed. After his release, fingerprints taken by the police revealed he had not used his true identity in those cases.
This will be his first felony and he has accepted responsibility for what he had done, said Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Baker. As stated in the terms of the agreement, Gomez was sentenced to two years with all but seven months suspended. He will be on supervised probation for four years and must be on good behavior for five years.