A Greene County Circuit Court judge on Tuesday granted the commonwealth’s attorney’s motion to nolle prosequi the felony cases against two Stanardsville men for allegedly harvesting hay on vacant county property for personal gain.
Monroe District Supervisor David Cox and Richard Eppard were indicted in May by a special grand jury, empanelled by Commonwealth’s Attorney Matthew Hardin in early 2019.
Hardin filed the motion for nolle prosequi on Oct. 29, the same day as a motions’ hearing, requested by the defense, seeking disclosure of discovery.
Nolle prosequi is a formal notice to drop charges by a prosecutor of all or part of a suit or action.
Janice Redinger, Cox’s attorney, argued the case should be dismissed with prejudice, which would prohibit the prosecution from bringing the charges again.
Hardin told Judge Claude V. Worrell Jr. an indictment from a regular grand jury would have provided more information to help the defense prepare their case and by nolle prosequi it leaves the possibility the investigative report that came out of the special grand jury could be brought before a regular grand jury and the pair reindicted.
Redinger said one aspect that has not be addressed by the prosecution is that while the county owns 200 acres at that site for the proposed reservoir, the amount of land the duo was allegedly harvesting was less than a couple acres.
The men had permission to harvest hay that abuts the land that was “unfenced, unposted and unsigned” and owned by the county, Redinger said.
Neither Hardin or the defense attorneys had comment after the hearing.