Delegate Elizabeth Guzman
P.O. Box 1818
Woodbridge, Va. 22195
May 14th, 2018
re: House Bill 417; Sentencing guidelines, modifications.
Dear Ms. Guzman,
I am writing in regards to the aforementioned bill that you presented to the House on 1/17/18. Specifically, I am inquiring as to whether this bill will create a mechanism for someone such as myself.
On July 13th, 2011, I was convicted by a jury in Roanoke County Circuit Court of aggravated malicious wounding, second-degrer murder, (3) three counts of assault and battery – those of which I pled not guilty to. However, I did plead guilty to hit & run and reckless driving on July 11th, 2011 before my trial commenced.
Although, I had a classic case of imperfect self defense as defined by Virginia Law, I would have easily accepted a manslaughter conviction. Please note that initially I was charged with only malicious wounding. It wasn’t until the victim’s condition worsened that the malicious wounding was nolle prosequi in favor of the aggravated malicious wounding indictment. Moreover, It wasn’t until I indicated to the Commonwealth that I would be presenting a defense of self defense that the Commonwealth indicted me for several of the misdemeanors months later.
Finally, when I flat out refused to acknowledge that I would indeed plead guilty to any of the indictments, the Commonwealth’s response was to indict me on April 1st, 2011 for second-degree murder and an additional count of assault & battery. Also, please note that the aggravated malicious wounding and second degree murder indictments stem from the same victim as a result of a single knife wound after being attacked in my house. Furthermore, both of the felony and misdemeanor indictments indicated that offense conduct date allegedly took place on June 5, 2010.
In sum, between the Commonwealth’s bullying tactics and the adverse pre-trial rulings by the presiding judge I felt forced to go to trial by way of jury. Consequently, the jury found me guilty and recommended that I be given a sentence of 25 years for aggravated malicious wounding, 15 years for second-degree murder, and 4 months each for the assault & battery convictions. However, the jury posed the question to the judge as to whether they could recommend that my sentence be served consecutive or concurrent, which the judge answered that they could not.
It is noteworthy to point out that the jury was not instructed as to whether or not I would be eligible for parole. However, I am unable to utilize the Fishback mechanism since my convictions came after July 1st, 2009.
Although my sentencing guidelines recommended a sentence of 9 years, 1 month – low, 16 years, 11 months – mid, and 20 years, 4 months for the high, the judge sentenced me to 41 years accordingly to the jury’s recommendations. Then the judge sentenced me to an additional 60 days to the two misdemeanor indictments I plead guilty to.
The question I pose, what is the point of having sentencing guidelines if the judge is only going to abuse his discretion? In this instance, it only serves to demonstrate that I was not only punished for the crime(s) I allegedly committed, but I was also punished for exercising my civil rights.
Thus, if the bill that you sponsored does not fit my predicament and others alike, I am respectfully requesting that something similar be presented to the House in the future for its consideration. Furthermore, I am more than willing to forward a copy of not only my sentencing guidelines, but also my PSI Report if necessary.
Thank you for your kind assistance in this matter.
c.c. John Edwards, Virginia Senator for the 21st District.
David Bomber #1130793
Nottoway Correctional Center
P.O. Box 488
Burkeville, Va. 23922
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Categories: David Bomber