Wright competent to stand trial

Published 5:44 pm Tuesday, July 17, 2018

By Diana McFarland

Managing editor

The man accused of threatening to burn down a local judge’s house was found competent to stand trial.

Joseph “Andy” Wright, 62, appeared in Isle of Wight County Circuit Court Monday to address his competency as well as set a trial date for Oct. 18. Wright asked for a trial before the judge and entered a plea of not guilty.

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Judge James Hawks, who was appointed to the case, indicated that Wright is competent — meaning he understands the justice process and can assist in his defense. 

According to a motion filed in circuit court, Wright’s mental state was considered a significant factor in preparing his defense for trial based on information received from the defendant’s family and a review of available records. {mprestriction ids=”1,2,3,4,5,6″}

Wright is accused of threatening to burn down the house of Isle of Wight County Circuit Court Judge Wayne Farmer. He was arrested in March and remains in custody at Western Tidewater Regional Jail.

Wright has a history in Isle of Wight County’s court system due to a long-standing dispute with a former neighbor, as well as vague threats and insinuations through the Sheriff’s Office.

During this investigation, however, bomb-making materials were seized as part of a search warrant on the defendant’s home on Gurwen Drive in the Morgart’s Beach area. 

Investigators found a box of switches, fuses, a rocket kit, cannon fuse, paint hand grenades, 14 containers of smokeless powder, PVC pipe, a 2-pound jar of explosives, five boxes of CO2 cartridges, two books titled, “Spite, Malice and Revenge,” and “Book of Dirty Tricks,” as well as 21.4 grams of suspected marijuana and other items, according to the search warrant.

The defendant blamed Farmer for the loss of his marriage and family, according to the search warrant. Farmer was commonwealth’s attorney during the time that Wright was feuding with his former neighbor. 

Farmer, as well as fifth judicial circuit judges Carl E. Eason Jr. and Robert H. Sandwich Jr., has recused himself from the case. 

The last time Wright was in the news was in 2014 when he produced a YouTube video titled, “Polygraph Rap,” about his lack of desired results in his dispute with his neighbor.   {/mprestriction}