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Sex offender accused of rape

A former middle-school teacher from Blacksburg is back in Virginia to face charges of having sex with a 12-year-old girl more than 30 years ago.

A Montgomery County judge appointed an attorney Wednesday for Jonathan Utin, 65, to defend him on 10 statutory rape charges dating back to 1970 and 1971.

Utin was a Blacksburg middle-school science teacher from 1968 to 2003 and had been a gymnastics coach, Sunday school teacher and swim club manager in the area.

Utin was arrested in Blacksburg last year and questioned by police from Ohio who said he confessed to molesting children over three decades. He pleaded guilty in April in Butler County, Ohio, to eight counts of rape and eight counts of gross sexual imposition of another girl younger than 10.

He will continue serving a 15-year prison sentence in Ohio while he is in the Montgomery County Jail.


Man gets life term for butchering sister

A Henry County man was sentenced to life in prison Wednesday for strangling and dismembering his sister.

James Alton Motes pleaded guilty to first-degree murder in May. After strangling Nancy Wingfield, 55, with a cord, Motes hacked her body into 19 pieces, sealed them in plastic bags and buried them in five locations near her house.

As Circuit Court Judge David Williams announced the sentence, Miss Wingfield’s daughters Tina Lawson, 35, and Jeannine Lawson, 27, hugged and wept.

Miss Wingfield’s sister, Teresa Gregory, testified that the slaying was prompted by Miss Wingfield’s rift with the family. Miss Gregory portrayed her sister as hateful and difficult.

“Though I was not surprised she lost her life, I was surprised that James was the one that took it,” she said. “I cannot comprehend the mental anguish that must have been inflicted on him to do this.”

Motes, 55, testified that Miss Wingfield had threatened to shoot or beat up their mother and that he would lie awake at night worrying that she might carry through on the threat.

Franklin County Commonwealth’s Attorney Cliff Hapgood, special prosecutor in the case, expressed skepticism that Motes‘ actions could be explained by a family feud. He called the January 2006 murder cold and calculating.

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