An Alford plea is when a defendant pleads guilty without making an admission of guilt.
Wesley Aaron Wayne Campbell, 20, appeared Thursday in Wise County Circuit Court on multiple charges stemming from incidents that occurred in early 2015 and February 2016.
Judge John Kilgore accepted Campbell’s plea and sentenced him to 50 years in prison with 35 years suspended, meaning that Campbell will spend 15 years in prison. The suspended sentence is conditioned on successful completion of 15 years supervised probation.
In January 2015, the Wise County Sheriff’s Department responded to a report of a stolen pistol from a garage near Coeburn. Campbell visited the location that same date. Campbell confessed that he took the gun intending to sell it to make money. While the case was pending, Campbell remained free on bond.
In February 2016, the Norton City Police Department responded to a call from a sporting goods store regarding a suspicious person attempting to purchase a gun. Police learned that Campbell entered the store and told the clerk that he “needed an AR-15 badly and had plenty of cash to pay for it.” Campbell partially completed the mandatory paperwork, but left before making the purchase. Campbell had previously been found guilty or adjudicated delinquent of a felony charge as a juvenile.
Later that same date, multiple law enforcement agencies responded to a call of the driver of a vehicle shooting out the window at another vehicle on US-23 southbound near the Wise County/City of Norton border. Norton police located the vehicle and found Campbell inside. Police found weapons and ammunition in Campbell’s possession, including a sawed-off shotgun.
“Today’s sentencing is a significant step toward protecting our community from those who choose to commit crime,” Commonwealth’s Attorney Chuck Slemp said. “Mr. Campbell was insistent on obtaining firearms and using them to harm others in our region. We are thankful that no one was injured or seriously harmed by the reckless and dangerous actions of Mr. Campbell.”
Slemp also thanked the work of multiple law enforcement agencies for their role in the case.
“We want to thank the dedicated efforts of Sheriff Ronnie Oakes and the Wise County Sheriff’s Office, Chief James Lane and the Norton City Police Department, Officer Darcie Flanary with the Big Stone Gap Police Department, and everyone who worked hard on this case to bring it to a successful conclusion,” Slemp said.