Hawes Spencer



Culpeper Supervisor Jack Frazier voted against the pump-and-haul permit for the Islamic Center of Culpeper's mosque.
Photo Hawes Spencer

Update: Culpeper mosque case headed to mediation

Following a March 22 hearing in U.S. District Court, the County of Culpeper and the U.S. Department of Justice agreed to mediation in the suit the DOJ filed alleging county discrimination against the Islamic Center of Culpeper when it requested a sewage permit for a mosque that was normally granted to churches. The Islamic Center, which […]

Day 11: Wenner defiant, Eramo rests in Rolling Stone trial

Day 11: Wenner defiant, Eramo rests in Rolling Stone trial

After 11 days of evidence, plaintiff Nicole Eramo rested her case against Rolling Stone October 28– but not before testimony from magazine founder Jann Wenner raised stakes and eyebrows in this $7.5 million libel case. “We have never retracted the whole article– and don’t intend to,” declared the magazine owner in a videotaped deposition played for the […]

Day 10: Rolling Stone’s remorse in defamation trial

Day 10: Rolling Stone’s remorse in defamation trial

The final Thursday witness for the plaintiff in the $7.5 million libel trial against Rolling Stone was Sara Surface. A friend to Jackie, Surface seemed to have a purpose in alleging that reporter Sabrina Rubin Erdely had prejudged plaintiff Nicole Eramo. “She disregarded me because I didn’t fit the narrative,” said Surface. An email released […]

Day 8: Rolling Stone fact checker, Jackie’s friends testify

Day 8: Rolling Stone fact checker, Jackie’s friends testify

For a second day, former Rolling Stone fact-checker Elisabeth Garber-Paul took the stand to explain why she believed Jackie, the student whose fake gang rape story sent the University of Virginia campus into uproar two years ago. “She seemed to really care about getting this story right,”  testified Garber-Paul. “She was totally comfortable with having […]

Bad memory: Jackie testifies on Day 7 of Rolling Stone trial

Bad memory: Jackie testifies on Day 7 of Rolling Stone trial

If “yes, to my great regret” has become the stock answer for remorseful Rolling Stone reporter Sabrina Rubin Erdely, then her protagonist in the now-discredited gang rape tale—the one who sent a college into chaos two years ago—has found a mantra of her own: “I don’t remember.” Before a hushed courtroom in downtown Charlottesville, a […]

Day 5: A recording of ‘Jackie’ makes waves

Day 5: A recording of ‘Jackie’ makes waves

Former Rolling Stone reporter Sabrina Rubin Erdely put in a third day on the stand Friday, a day spent answering friendly questions from the defense in an effort to show how a veteran journalist could be duped by a college girl named Jackie– the centerpiece of a story that became a libel trial. For over […]

Day 4: Erdely gives scarring testimony

Day 4: Erdely gives scarring testimony

“I found her to be very credible,” said the reporter on the podcast. “I put her story through the wringer.” This audio about “Jackie,” the now-discredited protagonist of a once-blockbuster magazine article was played for jurors, as the plaintiff’s attorney tried to crush the credibility of reporter Sabrina Rubin Erdely on Day Four of the […]

Day 2: Eramo takes stand in suit against Rolling Stone

Day 2: Eramo takes stand in suit against Rolling Stone

It was a courtroom with tears shed on both sides of the aisle. The defamation trial pitting former University of Virginia dean Nicole Eramo against her portrayal by Rolling Stone magazine’s Sabrina Rubin Erdely got into full swing Tuesday with both women crying at the federal courthouse. There was even talk of past tears, such as […]

Sandra Marks’ psychic reading business on Seminole Trail was raided in June 2014, and she was arrested a year later in New York.
Staff photo

‘Psychic’ pleads guilty in $2 million scheme

A Charlottesville woman who billed herself as a psychic has seen something about her own future: up to 40 years in prison. Sandra Stevenson Marks, who used to offer “Readings by Catherine” from a rented house on U.S. 29, stole over $2 million from five people, according to a court document. She pleaded guilty Tuesday […]

Surveillance video images helped lead to the arrest of Jesse Matthew, who pleaded guilty last week to murdering UVA student Hannah Graham, after footage showed he was with her the night she disappeared. Tuel Jewelers’ Mary Loose DeViney says she shares images from the store’s video surveillance with the police department but would cease to if she learned the images were being used for something other than police investigations.

Longo’s legacy: Cameras coming to a mall and cop near you

Much to the dismay of a local civil libertarian, outgoing Charlottesville Police Chief Tim Longo will finally get the surveillance cameras on the Downtown Mall he’s long desired. Hardware estimates fell from their previous high of $300,000, and the police surveillance system nine years in the making has finally won the support of City Council. […]

Kurt Kroboth found his name “inconvenient and embarrassing,” he said on a name 
change application. Photo courtesy of the Albemarle Charlottesville Regional Jail

Shattered Glass? Kroboth’s name change lands him in jail

If Kurt Kroboth was hoping for a better life with a new identity in California, the ex-convict received a painful surprise last week when he was arrested for a parole violation that may, ironically, have stemmed from something he put on his name change application. Kroboth is being held (under that name) without bond at […]

Kurt Kroboth found his name “inconvenient and embarrassing,” he said on a name 
change application. Photo courtesy of the Albemarle Charlottesville Regional Jail

Oscar M. Glass: OMG—Kurt Kroboth gets a new name

Kurt Kroboth, a convicted would-be wife killer who was bothered by lingering notoriety over his Albemarle crimes, has convinced a California judge to change his identity. Following a hearing in early May, the Superior Court of Contra Costa County entered a decree giving Kroboth a new name: Oscar Michel Glass. “Only on the left coast,” […]

The copper-topped Rotunda is getting a paint job. Photo: Laura Wagner

UVA spending $450K to give Rotunda that ’70s look

The Rotunda is the central structure of University of Virginia’s present and past. It’s a neoclassical architectural masterpiece designed by the founder, Thomas Jefferson, that has become so revered that the UN named it a World Heritage Site. And now, as part of a $52-million renovation, it’s getting a rooftop paint job costing over $450,000. […]

Sweet Briar supporters filed into last week's Supreme Court of Virginia hearing. The state's top court issued a ruling within days. Photo: Christian Hommel

Supreme Court ruling opens door for new leadership at Sweet Briar

“Good news,” tweeted Amherst-area Delegate Ben Cline. “VA Supremes endorse our Sweet Briar argument. Back to Bedford Circuit for rehearing and hopefully injunction to stop closure!” With its opinion rendered less than two business days after an already accelerated hearing, the Supreme Court of Virginia has sent a message, according to legal analysts, that the […]

The fight to save Sweet Briar College in Amherst heads to the Virginia Supreme Court on Thursday, June 4. Photo by Norm Shafer

Tenacious board: Sweet Briar fight heads to state’s top court

As the fight over Sweet Briar College heads toward the Virginia Supreme Court, one key question swirls around the board, which recently voted to close the 114-year-old institution. The trustees find themselves opposed at practically every level by students, alumnae, faculty, and even elected officials. Three lawsuits have been filed, the judge hearing them says […]

Debbie Sackman confronts Interim President Jones after the hearing. Photo: Hawes Spencer

Judge blocks Sweet Briar from selling off assets for six months

An Amherst County judge ruled Wednesday that Sweet Briar, whose board wants to close the women’s college, may not sell any assets for six months. The move provided a partial win in a student-based lawsuit to halt the closing, but the plaintiffs said there was cause to celebrate. “This was a huge victory,” said attorney Elliott […]

Daisy is buried on a hilltop on the sprawling campus. Photo: Norm Shafer

Second suit filed in fight to keep Sweet Briar College open

As both sides in a legal battle over the announced closure of Sweet Briar College weigh their options after a judge put a 60-day hold on efforts to shutter the school, another lawsuit looms. Filed April 17, it comes from students who say they are victims of a breach of contract who may incur tens of thousands of […]

The fight to save Sweet Briar College in Amherst heads to the Virginia Supreme Court on Thursday, June 4. Photo by Norm Shafer

Judge denies effort to block Sweet Briar closure

Activists seeking to keep Sweet Briar College open had their hopes dashed yesterday when a Bedford County judge denied a motion to kick out the school’s governing board and permanently block a plan to shutter the women’s college. After a contentious morning in court that saw emotional witness statements, the crowd thinned slightly from around […]

Teresa Tomlinson at a hearing on an injunction to block the closure of Sweet Briar College on April 15, 2015. Photo: Hawes Spencer

Fireworks as Sweet Briar injunction hearing moves forward

If the women who want to save their 114-year-old Sweet Briar College are David and the state’s top lawyer is Goliath, David seems to be winning this battle. On Tuesday, a Bedford County judge cleared the way for Amherst County Attorney Ellen Bowyer’s motion seeking an injunction to block the closure of the school. Her […]