Bomb threat alleged

Published 9:17 am Wednesday, March 28, 2018

County resident indicted for threatening judge

By Diana McFarland

Managing editor

An Isle of Wight County man with a long history of conflict with a neighbor was indicted March 20 for threatening to burn down the house of Isle of Wight County Circuit Court Judge Wayne Farmer.

A special grand jury was called last week to issue a felony indictment against Joseph “Andy” Wright, who has recently been living near Farmer’s residence in the Morgart’s Beach area of Isle of Wight County.

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The Isle of Wight County Sheriff’s Office kept the indictment confidential for nearly a week after Wright’s arrest and acknowledged they did not intend to release anything concerning it until The Smithfield Times contacted the office early Tuesday morning in an effort to confirm the alleged incident. 

The Sheriff’s Office sent out a press release to other news outlets just a few hours later. In fact, the Sheriff’s Office did not state that Farmer was the victim until Sheriff James Clarke made a decision to name the judge in the press release that was issued Tuesday afternoon.{mprestriction ids=”1,2,3,4,5,6″} 

The Sheriff’s Office has dealt with Wright’s threats and insinuations in the past, but those had been vague, said spokesman Lt. Tommy Potter. 

During this investigation however, it was revealed that the threats were more focused, targeted and that the suspect had the ability to execute those threats, Potter said. 

The alleged threats led Isle of Wight Sheriff’s investigators and the Virginia State Police bomb and arson unit to search Wright’s home. 

The results of the search warrant are currently sealed and unavailable to the public. However, unidentified sources told The Smithfield Times there were bomb-making materials and a significant amount of ammunition in the suspect’s house.

A special judge has been assigned to the case, Potter said. 

Wright is currently being held without bond in Western Tidewater Regional Jail. He is scheduled for a court hearing on Tuesday, April 3 in Isle of Wight County Circuit Court. 

The last time Wright was in the news was in 2014 when he published a video on YouTube called, “Polygraph Rap,” in which he took issue with his former neighbor, Julius Munford, as well as former Isle of Wight County Sheriff Charlie Phelps and Farmer, who was commonwealth’s attorney at the time. 

The video was set to the Vanilla Ice song, “Ice, Ice, Baby.” 

Wright and Munford, who were once neighbors on Dew Plantation Road, have been in court numerous times over the years on charges ranging from excessive noise to assault. 

As the feud wore on, Wright installed cameras pointed at Munford’s house. 

During one court hearing in 2010, Munford expressed fears for his life on a 911 tape presented as evidence.

“I have a neighbor who wants to kill me,” he said.

The case was dismissed. Wright put his house up for sale and eventually moved to Chesapeake. 

He has since returned to Isle of Wight County.  {/mprestriction}