Accomack Circuit Court


By Nancy Drury-Duncan —

In a plea agreement with the commonwealth, Christina Hickman, 47, of New Church, pleaded guilty to the assault and battery of a family member. She was originally charged with malicious maiming. Her now-husband said she stabbed him in the hand while she was sleepwalking. She had no recollection of the incident, said defense attorney Isabel Kaldenbach, who said her client was self-medicating for mental health issues. She said Hickman and the victim have since married and that he wants her to get the help she needs. Kaldenbach said Hickman has no criminal record and “has embraced sobriety.” Hickman’s husband concurred. “She’s doing wonderful,” he told the court.

Substitute Judge Joseph Canada accepted the plea agreement and reduced the charge to a misdemeanor. “You need to stay away from drugs,” he said. “You have a husband that wants to help.” He sentenced Hickman to 50 days in jail and suspended all but time served. He ordered her to be on good behavior for one year.


Zachary P. Peterson, 42, of Chincoteague, violated the terms of his probation by continuing to use illegal drugs. “He has no new law violations,” said defense attorney Carl Bundick.

On the witness stand, Peterson admitted his problems. “I was using drugs,” he said. “I asked for help from my probation officer.” He said he began attending a drug treatment program at the Eastern Shore community services board and was going to Narcotics Anonymous and Alcoholics Anonymous meetings. He said he was working two jobs doing siding, home remodeling, and construction work. He said he has been in jail for 42 days since his arrest for probation violation and has child support to pay for his two sons who live in Kentucky.

Judge Canada asked Peterson how long he has had a drug problem. “On and off for 20 years,” he responded. The judge said,“You will end up dead or in the penitentiary. That stuff will kill you. I am going to continue this case for 90 days and let you go home.” Judge Canada told Peterson to remain drug free. “If you don’t, I will sentence you to a year in jail,” he said. He ordered Peterson to pay $100 a month toward the $2,784 he owes in restitution. He will continue on probation for 90 days until returning to court on Oct. 20. “Good luck to you,” said the judge as Peterson was led from the courtroom.


Edyn Obdulio Duarte Valdez, 24, of Mappsville, and Cristian Noe Garcia, 31, of Melfa, pleaded guilty to possession of cocaine and requested the first offender program. A deputy on patrol discovered both men parked in a car on Airport Drive in Melfa. The officer, seeing the driver make a motion as if he was trying to hide something, shined a spotlight on the car. When he approached the car, he saw an empty plastic bag on the ground and a dollar bill rolled up like a straw, Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Michael Baker told the court. A similar bill was found on the center console of the car.

The deputy arrested and searched both men and found each had a bag of cocaine on his person. As neither man had previous drug charges or convictions, both were eligible for the first offender program. “I hope you have learned your lesson,” said Judge Canada. He ordered the men to be supervised by Community Corrections and to remain drug free during their year of probation. They are to return to court on July 26, 2023.

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