Indictments handed down this month from the Floyd County grand jury included 29 counts of child pornography against a 20-year-old Indian Valley man.
Police arrested Randy Lee Phillips, a 2012 graduate of Floyd County High School, on September 4. A Virginia State Police investigator traced an offering of child pornography over the Internet back to his computer and a search found many more images and materials.
Exactly one year ago, in the grand jury session of September 2013, handed out multiple indictments on a high school athletic announcer who also ran the local Farm Credit Office and his son, a mechanic and Iraq war veteran.
Greg Claubaugh and son Mark are in prison after accepting deals from a special prosecutor and offered guilty pleas.
On the same day we learned of the 29 charged against Phillips this week, Traci Jo Plessinger, 49, of Copper Hill was stopped by Roanoke County police for a traffic violation and learned she was also wanted for larceny, obtaining money by false pretenses. After her arrest, they say she implicated in a violent purse snatching at Sam’s Club Saturday when an 83-year-old woman was dragged by a pickup truck that was used by two woman who grabbed her purse from her shopping cart.
Fortunately, the elderly woman was not seriously injured.
Police say Plessinger was identified by video of the escaping pickup truck. She will face additional charges.
Two sets of serious charges from opposite ends of a rural county: Is that what Floyd County has become? The grand jury list I picked up for this week’s Floyd Press included a number of felonies that included malicious assault of a family member, use of a gun in a burglary and assault of a police officer.
A case before the Circuit Court Tuesday included a man who broke into a home and also sexually assaulted the woman who lived there. The judge sent him to prison.
Amy and I will soon celebrate 10 years as residents of Floyd County. When we moved to the laid-back, quiet county of my youth, I warned her that “you will be bored here.”
Instead, I have reported on too many murders, rapes, sexual assault on children, a rampant drug problem that includes use and manufacture and the massive killing of students and faculty at nearby Virginia Tech.
Back in the 1960s, Floyd’s Circuit Court met once a month unless there was a rare jury trial.
The court was meeting twice a month when we arrived in 2004. Now it meets once a week.
Floyd County is not the sleepy little town I left in 1969 and I doubt it ever will be again.
A bumper sticker on an old pickup truck last week said it best: “Floyd ain’t what it used to be.”
No, it’s not. A lot of good things have come to Floyd but the darker side of life is also more apparent nowadays.