‘Road Rage’ Defendant Free To Travel

Dean Now Allowed To Leave State While Awaiting Appeal Outcome

Posted: March 14, 2014

HARRISONBURG — An Elkton man found guilty of shooting a Rockingham County resident following an alleged “road rage” incident in 2012 will be allowed to travel out of state while he awaits the results of his appeal.

Rudolph Dean, 48, who has claimed self-defense since his arrest following the January 2012 incident, was charged with aggravated malicious wounding, a crime that carries a maximum punishment of life in prison.

On April 17, 2013, a Rockingham County jury found Dean guilty of a lesser charge, felony unlawful wounding, and recommended he serve nine months in jail. He had faced up to five years in prison on the charge.

Including the time already  spent in jail awaiting trial, he would have about two months left to serve.

Following his conviction, he appealed and has since been free on bond.

“I don’t see any harm for him to travel out of state,” said Judge T.J. Wilson, during a hearing in Rockingham County Circuit Court on Thursday. “I don’t see where he is any type of flight risk.”

Dean filed a motion last week asking for permission to visit his son’s school in Ohio and attend a trade show in Atlanta in June in connection with his Harrisonburg business, Valley Surplus.

His attorney, Shelly James, said her client hasn’t been able to attend trade shows and auctions in the past two years.

“It’s hurting his business not to be able to travel out of state,” James told the judge.

Dean testified that it is crucial to the future success of his business.

 “It would make a big difference in my life,” he said.

Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Christopher Bean agreed Dean should be allowed to travel to Ohio but took exception to his traveling to trade shows, especially agreeing this early for one in June.

“Our concern is that it might be too early to make that ruling,” Bean said. “The [Virginia] Supreme Court might have made its ruling by then. There are too many unknowns.”

Wilson eventually sided with Dean, saying he could leave the state as long as the person overseeing his pretrial release knew where Dean was going.

The Case

Rockingham County sheriff’s deputies say Dean shot Robert Crawford, then 42, outside Crawford’s home at 7011 South East Side Highway south of Elkton on the afternoon of Jan. 30, 2012.

During testimony, Crawford said the dispute between the two men began while they were driving on Spotswood Trail. He said Dean followed him to his house and shot him as he approached Dean’s truck with a collapsible metal baton.

The Court of Appeals of Virginia denied his appeal on Dec. 23.

He then appealed the court’s ruling to the Virginia Supreme Court. The state’s highest court has not yet indicated when it would review the case.

Contact Pete DeLea at 574-6278 or pdelea@dnronline.com

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