Top Stories in 2013 – A Look Back /The Year In Review

* Early in 2013, Members of a House Appropriations subcommittee questioned whether the state will be able to close four of Virginia’s training centers. In July, Families of Virginia’s mental health training-center residents asked the governor to stop the pressure from a state agency to move their relatives out of the centers and into smaller homes in communities. But by the fall of the year, the economic impact of the impending closing was already being felt in AmherstCounty. The CentralVirginiaTrainingCenter in Madison Heights is scheduled for closure June 30, 2020.

* A Halifax County Judge in October ruled the defendant in a South Boston capital murder case incompetent to stand trial –for the time being. James Lloyd Terry facing several charges in connection with the April 2011 death of 84-year-old Charlotte Osborne Rice, including two for capital murder during rape and one each for capital murder in the commission of robbery, burglary and robbery. The court ruled that an appropriate state agency take charge of Terry in an effort to restore competency to stand trial.

* In February, The adult grandson of double homicide victims 73 year old John and 72 year old Virginia Philbrook was arrested. Robert Lee Philbrook was charged with two counts of second degree murder. He also faces two counts of using a firearm in commission of a felony, and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. Philbrook waived his right to a speedy trial in November and will go on trial in February 2015 for the murders.

* Two Franklin County elementary school employees were arrested in February in a murder-for-hire scheme. 37-year-old Cathy Bennett of Rocky Mount and 47-year-old Angela Nolen of Moneta solicited an undercover detective in an attempt to kill Nolen’s ex-husband. In October, Nolen, after being convicted of attempting to hire a hit-man to kill her ex-husband, was sentenced to 8 years. In November, Bennett was sentenced to 18 months for conspiracy.

* Robert Gleason Jr. became the country’s first execution of 2013. The Virginia prison inmate who killed a Madison Heights man, then two fellow inmates was put to death in January in the state’s electric chair. Gleason was sentenced to life in prison after he admitted to shooting Mike Jamerson. The 42-year-old inmate was … the first to choose to die by electrocution since 2010. In Virginia and nine other states, inmates can choose between electrocution and lethal injection. Gleason had fought last-minute attempts by former attorneys to stop the execution.

* Outgoing Gov. Bob McDonnell’s final year in office was overshadowed by questions about more than $165,000 in gifts and loans to him and his family from a businessman whose company was in the midst of a tax dispute with the state, and that Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, the GOP gubernatorial candidate, also received gifts from the executive. McDonnell could still face a federal indictment on corruption charges, though he says he gave no favors to the businessman or his firm.

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