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Anderson pleads guilty to slashing

Rodney Lee Anderson

A Victoria man faces a potential life sentence for brutally slashing a woman’s throat with a hacksaw.

Rodney Leroy Anderson, 53, of Victoria, pleaded guilty in Lunenburg Circuit Court of Aggravated Malicious Wounding, which carries a potential punishment of life in prison. There was no plea agreement. A contested sentencing hearing will be held Nov. 19, where prosecutors are expecting to ask for life in prison.

“Of all the horrendous photos I have seen over 38 years of prosecution,” said Commonwealth’s Attorney Robert Clement, “this was the most gruesome.”

According to a press release from the Lunenbrug Commonwealth’s Attorney Office the Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney J. Baxter Stegall presented the evidence to the court, which included a stack of horrific color photographs of the victim’s injuries and the crime scene, as well as video recordings of interviews with the defendant and victim.

Stegall was assigned to the case from the beginning, and assisted at the scene on the evening of the attack, providing legal guidance to investigators in the case. Stegall summarized the facts to the judge as follows: On May 4 the victim went over to Victoria, in Lunenburg County in order to visit with Anderson, an acquaintance of hers. She and Anderson were hanging out together, and both had been consuming alcohol, although the victim wasn’t intoxicated. After she had been there a short while, Anderson asked her if she would purchase a weed-eater for him, and she refused.

“The defendant then became enraged, and he grabbed her by her arms and threw her from the couch to the ground into the next room. He then climbed on top of her, his knees on the ground, and sat on her chest. Once on top of her, he held his hand to her throat, pinning her to the ground, and he began to choke her. She felt her neck being cut, and she felt pain and saw blood.

Anderson then called 911 himself from the victim’s phone, and reported that there was an injured woman in his house. Police and Fire/Rescue arrived and began to treat the victim, who was still conscious, lying in a pool of blood. She identified her attacker, Rodney Anderson, to responding Lunenburg Sheriff’s Deputy Tonya Jones. Both police and fire/rescue personnel saw Anderson on scene, and his hands and shirt were covered in blood.

Assistant Chief Chris Garrett, one of the responding paramedics, photographed the victim’s horrendous injury, a jagged 6.2 inch cut across her throat, so that the responding helicopter medical crew wouldn’t have to open the bandaging to see the wound to understand the injuries. The victim was flown by helicopter to MCV in Richmond, where she stayed for almost a month. Reports from medical personnel from MCV showed significant injuries to the victim’s neck, including lacerations to internal body parts such as the larynx and esophagus.

The victim now has a scar running the entire width of her throat, which qualifies as “permanent and significant physical impairment,” triggering the enhanced crime of aggravated malicious wounding.

Police recovered a hacksaw a few feet from where the assault occurred, hidden behind some other items next to a wall. The hacksaw had blood, flesh and hair on its blade.

Deputy Greg Currin of the Lunenburg Sheriff’s Office interviewed Anderson on the scene. Anderson first told police that an unknown white male had burst into the house and cut the victim, then fled into the woods. Anderson told police he gave chase, but was unable to catch the supposed attacker.

When Currin confronted Anderson about how he could chase a man if he was so intoxicated that he could barely stand up, Anderson had no reply. Anderson then changed his story and said that the victim was laying in his floor when he got home. When asked about the blood on his hands and shirt, Anderson said that he had injured himself while riding his bicycle. While in custody in the back of the police car, Anderson was recorded on Currin’s body-worn camera saying, “I’m going to kill this b***h.”

Currin interviewed Anderson once he was sober a few days later. Anderson then admitted that he had assaulted the victim. He claimed they had a confrontation which led to the victim striking him. He then said he just “snapped.” When asked if he had used a hacksaw, he told the deputy that he didn’t remember, but had numerous types of bladed weapons and tools strewn all over his house, and it could have been a hacksaw that he used.

Anderson has a lengthy history of violence, including a 1992 conviction in Lunenburg for Malicious Bodily Injury (felony), 2004 conviction in Lunenburg for Felonious Assault (felony), a 1990 conviction in Lunenburg for Assault (misdemeanor), a 1990 conviction in Lunenburg for Assault (misdemeanor), a 1994 conviction in Lunenburg for Domestic Assault (misdemeanor), a 2015 conviction in Lunenburg for Assault (misdemeanor), a 2017 conviction in Lunenburg for Assault (misdemeanor), and a 2018 conviction in Lunenburg for Assault (misdemeanor). The 2017 conviction was for assaulting the same victim in this case.

Anderson’s further criminal history includes a 1995 conviction in Lunenburg for Destruction of Property (misdemeanor), two convictions in 1999 for Failure to Appear in Court (misdemeanors), a 2014 conviction for Failure to Appear in Court (felony), convictions for probation violation in 2012 and 2014 (felonies), and a 2019 conviction for Contempt of Court (misdemeanor).

The Lunenburg Commonwealth’s Attorney’s office is not releasing the name of the victim in this case. Aggravated Malicious Wounding is a Class 2 Felony, punishable by a prison sentence of 20 years to life, and a fine of not more than $100,000. Anderson faces a sentencing hearing scheduled for Nov. 19, at 9:30 a.m. He is incarcerated at Piedmont Regional Jail in Farmville, awaiting the next hearing.