Bryan Silva, the 25-year-old social media celebrity jailed after a January 3 SWAT standoff, pleaded guilty April 11 to brandishing and possessing a firearm. Though he has been denied bond twice since January, Charlottesville Circuit Court Judge Rick Moore agreed to release him from jail on a $20,000 bond and under a stricter than usual house arrest until his July 5 sentencing.
As part of the plea agreement reached by prosecutor Joe Platania and Silva’s attorney, John March, Moore agreed to drop an abduction charge Silva faced for allegedly pointing the laser scope of a loaded 9mm at his 17-year-old girlfriend on the morning of the standoff, refusing to let her leave his apartment in the 2500 block of Jefferson Park Avenue and then eventually throwing her belongings outside.
Silva had met his girlfriend online about a month earlier, and, according to a statement of facts from Platania, she was homeless and living in another state when Silva offered to fly her out to Charlottesville to live with him.
The victim told detectives that Silva had taken a large amount of Xanax on the day he threatened her with the gun and that she was scared of him, the statement of facts says. The prosecutor said the victim has since left Virginia and did not want to come back to testify against him in a trial.
At the hearing, Moore asked Silva about his level of education, to which he answered that he completed eighth grade and then got his GED at 16.
“Tell me what you think the agreement says,” the judge said. “That I’m pleading guilty,” Silva said, and indicated he understood that staying in jail could help him get a headstart on the maximum sentence of six years that his charges carry. March said house arrest would help Silva establish a good track record and argue for a shorter sentence.
Silva will stay with his mother in her Orange apartment, under 24-hour supervision of an adult with no criminal record and GPS monitoring. After three weeks, Moore said he may drop one of these conditions.
“I want to know where he is at all times and I want to make sure he’s not alone,” the judge said. “This is stricter than most house arrests.” He asked Silva’s mother if she realized her son had pointed a loaded handgun at a girl.
Silva will also be subject to routine drug and alcohol tests, and the social media star will not have access to the Internet.
Moore brought up Silva’s online presence and Facebook photos in which Silva can be seen shirtless and brandishing a handgun matching the one his former girlfriend said he pointed at her.
“The Bryan Silva who is in this court today and the Bryan Silva in those pictures is two different people,” his attorney told the judge. “One is for show and one is for real.”
After the hearing, March said Silva is “a very nice young man” and has had plenty of time to reflect in prison.