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January 16, 2009
News Article: RIchmond Times-Dispatch

By: | Times-Dispatch
Published: January 16, 2009

Louisa A dump truck driver involved in a head-on collision that killed three people has been sentenced to one year in prison. Jerome J. Booker Jr., 38, was sentenced this week after pleading guilty to three counts of involuntary manslaughter in Louisa County Circuit Court. Booker was sentenced to 15 years, with all but one year of that term suspended. Deputy Commonwealth's Attorney Rusty McGuire said Booker also is barred from having a commercial driver's license for the rest of his life. Booker's truck hit a van head-on on U.S. 15 on July 17, 2007, after he swerved to avoid a pickup truck that had stopped to make a turn. Three people in the van were killed.

Chesterfield The Board of Supervisors this week significantly lowered application fees for recreational facilities and at-home businesses. The Planning Department fees were increased in July as a way to collect a higher percentage of the department's processing costs. But the increase of $3,100 -- from $2,200 to $5,300 -- weighed heavily on some smaller would-be businesses and community associations. On a motion by Bermuda District Supervisor Dorothy A. Jaeckle, the board on Wednesday night unanimously reduced the fees for at-home businesses and recreational facilities to $1,000 each, which is below last year's original figure.

Petersburg Thelma Jefferson, president of the Peabody High School National Alumni Association, presented a $2,000 check to Peabody Middle School on Wednesday during the School Board meeting. The money is for the "continued restoration of Peabody Middle School and the educational welfare of the Peabody Middle School students," Jefferson said. The alumni association had previously donated $18,000 to the middle school.

Hanover For the second time, the Hanover County Planning Commission approved last night a proposed project that calls for construction of nine homes in the county's Brown Grove area, including two homes to be built by Hanover Habitat for Humanity. The commission had endorsed the proposal last year but the Board of Supervisors sent it back to the commission for further review after a number of neighbors complained. The other seven homes will be built by Hometown Realty. The proposal will go back to the supervisors for a vote next month.


Martinsville Gloria Niblett has been named interim executive director of the Virginia Museum of Natural History. Her appointment by the executive committee of the museum's trustees follows the recent resignation of Timothy J. Gette as executive director. Gette's last day is Feb. 4. Niblett is a native of Martinsville and a graduate of Averett University. She currently serves as director of administration and services and has been employed at the museum for 20 years.

Winchester A Frederick County man who pleaded guilty to killing four members of a family in October 2006 has been sentenced to life in prison with no parole. Circuit Judge John Prosser gave Jessi Ashton Jephson, 22, three consecutive life terms plus 58 years Wednesday. Jephson was charged in the fatal shootings of Amanda Orndorff, 19; her 23-month-old son, Christopher; her father, Samuel Orndorff, 60; and her nephew, Travis Putman, 17. Deputies found the bodies in two houses in northern Frederick. Jephson pleaded guilty in September to three capital murder charges, four firearms charges and two grand larceny charges.

-- From Staff and Wire Reports