Scott Pleads Guilty, Sentenced to Jail

Berryville resident Stephaney Scott pleaded “guilty” to two counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor this morning. Scott appeared before Clarke County Juvenile and Domestic Relations Judge Ronald Napier. Scott’s attorney, Robert Vernail of Leesburg, was also present.

Stephaney Scott leaving Clarke County Juvenile and Domestic Relations court after pleading guilty to charges on Friday - Photo Edward Leonard

Judge Napier sentenced Scott on the first charge, criminal complaint #236201,  to 365 days in jail with 351 days of the sentence suspended. Napier also fined Scott $2500 with $1500 of the amount suspended. Napier continued the disposition of sentencing on Scotts’s second charge, criminal complaint #236202, pending the outcome of 12 months of unsupervised probation.

In a plea deal worked out by Clarke County Commonwealth Attorney Suzanne “Suni” Perka, Stephaney Scott will serve a jail sentence and also serve twelve months of unsupervised probation. Part of Scott’s probation includes no underage alcohol consumption in her home by any person, including Scott’s children.

“Given the facts and the circumstances and that she condoned the underage consumption of alcohol I believe the outcome is fair” said Perka. “There will be opinions that the sentence is too harsh and opinions that the sentence is too lenient but given Aaron Shirley’s death I believe that this is a fair result.”

Perka also shed light on the events that occurred immediately prior to the tragic accident that claimed the life of 17-year-old Aaron Shirley on June 18th, 2010.

According to Perka, the driver of the vehicle, Amir Banks, stopped by Stephaney Scott’s Treadwell Street home just prior to the accident. Banks allegedly spent a short amount of time at Scott’s house where he picked up several minor females before driving his pickup truck north of Berryville to meet Aaron Shirley.

Perka said that the accident occurred immediately after Banks left Scott’s home but there was no evidence that Banks received alcohol at Scott’s residence or that Scott necessarily knew what was going on between the young people that evening.

“The kids appear to have been in the garage and Ms. Scott was in the house” Perka said.

However, Stephaney Scott’s lawyer disagreed with Perka’s statement.

“Ms. Scott was not at home that night” said Scott’s attorney Robert Vernail. Vernail also said that it was a shame that the death of Aaron Shirley and Ms. Scott’s arrest had been conflated together.

“It’s a disservice to Ms. Scott” Vernail said.

Vernail said that although Scott had admitted to making an error in judgment about how to deal with underage drinking and will now serve the consequences, there are many levels of responsibility when it comes to teen drinking.

“The first level of responsibility lies with the teen drinkers themselves. Any teen who goes to a drinking party knows that it is wrong and that it is dangerous. The next level of responsibility lies with the parents of the teens who should know where their child is going, who their child’s friends are and to enforce curfews.”

But Suni Perka offered a differing view.

“There is no direct evidence linking Ms. Scott to the death of Aaron Shirley” Perka said. “But in the broader picture, people in the community that provided alcohol to the teens when their parents didn’t know about it did contribute to the death of Aaron. I think that’s fair to say.”

“Maybe some people in our community think that it’s OK to provide alcohol to underage kids” Perka said. “The problem is that you don’t ever have control over all of the kids that may get involved and you then run the risk of a kid leaving your home and possibly killing someone. There is no linkage between Aaron Shirley’s death and Stephaney Scott but it’s easy to imagine how this happened.”

Perka said that pictures retrieved from Facebook showed underage drinking occurred at Scott’s residence.

As for where the minors involved in the June 18th incident actually obtained the alcohol that contributed to the accident, Perka said that an on-going investigation is still active in the matter.

“We’re still looking at other issues” Perka said. “Manslaughter charges are unlikely but we’re not done yet.”

In continuing the disposition of sentencing on Scotts’s second charge, pending the outcome of 12 months of unsupervised probation, Judge Napier left open the possibility of additional penalties in the event that Scott does not observe the conditions of her parole.  The second charge will automatically lapse on February 10, 2012 without a court appearance by Scott if she does not violate the conditions of her parole.

Scott will begin serving her jail sentence on February 13th at 8:00pm.

Comments

  1. Wow. I guess the recession has really hit the County Prosecuter’s Office because instead of a trial, they continuously allow perps to plead out for a reduced sentence. All you have to do to earn your salary is accept plea deals? I want Perka’s job!

    This is ridiculous.

    • Or maybe behind the scenes there was more to the story than you initially thought (surprise). It obviously wasn’t as serious and “disgusting” as all you people who degraded this woman made it out to be. I wouldn’t necessarily say this whole thing reached a point of vindication, but I will say that the punishment is fair enough given ALL the details of the case which people such as yourself chose to ignore and omit immediately. The point was made, the lesson was learned and from now on maybe instead of being malicious towards individuals over a computer, you will begin to look at every side of a story, and understand that there will always be things you will never know everything about. I commend Sunni Perka, the Clarke County court system, and Ms. Scott and her defense for preventing this situation to become something it never needed to become. Let us move on and continue to protect and educate the youth from the dangers of consuming alcohol irresponsibly, and cease from this whole mess pertaining to this woman because as of this morning this particular situation has come to a close.

    • She got one of the harsher sentences for contributing to the deliquency of minors and you still complain? Not to mention she has another conviction hanging over her head which I think was an excellent idea. All it would take is one jury who felt like teenagers drinking is ok and she would be doing no time. But we can agree to disagree.

    • Fly on the wall says:

      If your work performance on the job should be as flawed and reactionary as your logic on here, there’d be mistrials aplenty. I’m glad you won’t be on the ballot for her job any time soon.

  2. Hopefully, there are some lessons learned here, for both the “cool” party parents and the party kids

    • Yep. The lesson as I interpret it is that if you keep Perka in office, she’ll save the county money by accepting plea deals only.

      • Travis Goodwin says:

        Not happy (there’s a shocker)? Then lobby the General Assembly to amend the sentencing guidelines that are in place and that apply to everyone…whether you agree with them or not is moot. Ranting incessantly for something more excessive, while certainly your right, only makes you look really small-minded. CA Perka does a fantastic job, and – you seem to forget – the bulk of the potential sentence Ms. Scott could get is still hanging over her head.

        Instead of a drawn-out trial, Ms. Scott accepted her guilt, admitted her mistake, and now will spend 2 weeks away from her family and pay $1000 in a tough economy. This is the first conviction in this community on this type of offense that I can recall, and I’ve been here over 13 years.

  3. Dmaxnjackson says:

    I think it is a totally fair deal. Just a slap on the wrist, just like Amir

  4. What I’d like to see CDN concentrate on now is the response by the police to these different incidents. All too often in the threads relating to this story, the kids here posted refrains like “The cops came and didn’t do anything!”

    That is unacceptable

    You’ve been right there CDN getting the REC spokesman on here, getting the affidavite for the Scott case. Go bang on the doors of the Sheriff and Police Chief and see what they have to say as well.

  5. 4theluvofGod says:

    With all due respect RW

    People also pleas so that they themselves and the community can move on with their lives. I suggest that this would thing for you to do. The teenagers you’ve been arguing with , the adults that are making mature statements, the Christians, and the critiques all needed some closure to this.

    Although we appreciate your enthusiasm and dedication to this particular situation, if you were channel it toward making this community a better place to live you would at it. Negativity, mud slinging, threats and pointing out grammatical errors really isnt going to give this community what it needs.

    I will continue to pray for you RW and people like you, and hope that some day you see what’s really important in this world and what isn’t.

  6. 4theluvofGod says:

    With all due respect RW

    People also accept pleas so that they themselves and the community can move on with their lives. I suggest that this would be a good thing for you to do. The teenagers you’ve been arguing with , the adults that are making mature statements, the Christians, and the critiques all needed some closure to this.

    Although we appreciate your enthusiasm and dedication to this particular situation, if you were channel it toward making this community a better place to live in, you would be awesome at it. Negativity, mud slinging, threats and pointing out grammatical errors really isnt going to give this community what it needs.

    I will continue to pray for you RW and people like you, and hope that some day you see what’s really important in this world and what isn’t.

    **excuse the rewrite, but my nerves are a little shot**

  7. My 2 Cents... says:

    Enjoy your 2 weeks in the clink! I hope that you take this time to really think about your actions! Maybe this will send a clear message to the COOL PARENTS out there, that this kinda stuff is not going to be tolerated! I agree with Sarge, CDN, lets go after the police now and see why they never brought this to light before…… There has to be a record of an officer responding to this house somewhere… If so, please bring it out as well!

    CDN Editor: CDN conducted in-depth interviews with both Berryville Police Chief Neal White and Clarke County Sheriff Tony Roper shortly after the accident that killed Aaron Shirley. (see: http://www.clarkedailynews.com/clarke-community-seeks-answers-on-underage-drinking/10376/)

    We did not uncover any information at the time of the interviews that pointed to a cover up of teen drinking.

    • Ask for their dispatch logs for the last year or two, and if you can’t get them lay a Freedom of Information Act request on them for the stuff.

      Either the kids are pulling stuff out of their rears (Which wouldn’t surprise me) or the cops aren’t releasing or logging info

      • Interested Bysitter says:

        Doesn’t CDN already publish the dispatch logs for both the CC Sheriff’s Office AND the Berryville PD? IOf so, these logs – for the past year – are already archived for your perusal pleasure, Sarge. Have at it.

        • According to previous reports, the party was held in Frederick County. Ms. Scott’s family has a farm out there, so the Treadwell Street mention doesn’t make much sense.

          Anyway, the same kids are pooling money for a beach house after graduation, and I know of a parent or two that are providing alcohol for the group to take on their trip. One of them is a swim team parent that has done alcohol providing before.

          Hope nothing bad happens.

      • I find it hysterical that the cops are being blamed for this.

  8. Rightwinger-

    Here’s an idea…

    Make it your personal mission to identify the alcohol suppliers in the Shirley case. You clearly have plenty of free time on your hands. Think of this mission as your punishment for not grasping the concept that Scott did not provide the alcohol that killed Aaron.

    I join those that are praying for you…

    • Not my job, it’s the police department’s job. They got the hostess of the party, I’m sure we’ll hear about the drug and alcohol suppliers pretty soon as well.

      Thanks for praying for me though. I need it. Better yet, pray for the kids who just don’t get it. I’d hate to have another senseless death of a teenager.

  9. DAWN PRICE says:

    WE ALL MAKE MISTAKES IN LIFE AND HAVE TO LIVE WITH THEM . WE ARE A SMALL TOWN AND NEED TO BE THERE FOR ONE ANOTHER . EVERYONE WHO WAS INVOLVED IT THIS I AM SURE IS READY FOR IT TO END . IF WE LIVED IN THE PERFECT WORLD THER WOULD BE NO WRONG EVER BUT THAT WILL NEVER HAPPEN SO LETS BE KIND TO ONE ANOTHER AND LET THIS COME TO A END . I AM SURE THE FAMILYS INVOLVED ARE READY FOR SOME PEACE./

    • Dawn,
      With all due resoect to your posts here and on other news fourms; using caps is considered “yelling” in the blog/news fourm. Your points here and eslsewhere are well taken, but you will seem more credible if you type normally. The CDN editors and others will certainly help if this is an ADA matter, but in the meantime, please don’t “yell” at us. Thanks!

      • Tricia Ramey says:

        Sunny, that is the way Dawn talks ALWAYS. She doesn’t know how to talk any other way. Just her wonderful personality. Love ya Dawn

      • HOW DO YOU KNOW SHE WASN’T YELLING? MAYBE SHE WANTED TO MAKE SURE YOU HEARD WHAT SHE HAD TO SAY! CRACKING ME UP!

      • I HAVE TROUBLE SEEING AND AM WAITING FOR MY NEW GLASS’S SO SO SORRY IF SOMEONE TOOK IT THE WRONGE WAY .. NO HARM DONE FROM MY END .. JUST GETTING OLDER

        • Dawn, try hitting the “control” key and the “+” key at the same time. That will enlarge your font. Keep hitting them and it will get larger each time, hope that helps!

  10. “There is no direct evidence linking Ms. Scott to the death of Aaron Shirley”

    “Direct evidence”. Meaning it could not be proven in court that the alcohol in young Mr Bank’s system was obtained or consumed at Ms Scots. It also means Ms Scot could not disprove it

    As someone else said, take the two weeks in the klink to think about your actions.

    And hey kids, don’t think about any pre-spring break benders just because the house is going to be empty for two weeks

    • I agree…just because someone was not charged or no evidence suggests involvement, doesn’t make them innocent of doing it. Heck, even being found innocent of doing something doesn’t truly mean someone didn’t do it, just means they had a good attorney.

      But at the same time, we don’t really know whether she is or isn’t responsible. Let’s just hope she will learn from this.

  11. Per Perka: Given the facts and the circumstances and that she condoned the underage consumption of alcohol I believe the outcome is fair” said Perka. “There will be opinions that the sentence is too harsh and opinions that the sentence is too lenient but given Aaron Shirley’s death I believe that this is a fair result.”

    According to Perka, the driver of the vehicle, Amir Banks, stopped by Stephaney Scott’s Treadwell Street home just prior to the accident. Banks allegedly spent a short amount of time at Scott’s house where he picked up several minor females before driving his pickup truck north of Berryville to meet Aaron Shirley.

    Perka said that the accident occurred immediately after Banks left Scott’s home but there was no evidence that Banks received alcohol at Scott’s residence or that Scott necessarily knew what was going on between the young people that evening.

    So Perka states that Scott’s sentence is fair considering Shirley’s death and that there is no eveidence that Scott provided alcohol to Banks, the driver that caused the accident. ??? What??

    I applaud Scott for not drawing this out and keeping the whole thing quick and quiet. Admitting that she supplied alcohol to underage kids and accepting her sentence is commendable. But why is she linked to Shirleys death with the above 2 sided comments from Perka.

    An unfortunate situation no matter how you look at it. Lets hope many lessons have been learned by kids and adults both.