Testimony reveals more about Anders shooting

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By Staff Reports

INDEPENDENCE — Testimony at Randy Lee Anders’ trial on July 24-25 revealed more about the night that Grayson County deputies confronted the wanted fugitive.

The incident ended with deputies shooting Anders four times.

Following the trial, Anders, 33, was convicted of five charges — including felony assault on two police officers — and sentenced to five years in prison.

He will be formally sentenced in September.

“The evidence presented was pretty consistent from both prosecution and defense, and differed mainly in the interpretation of intent necessary for the crimes,” said Grayson Commonwealth’s Attorney Doug Vaught.

The trial began July 24 with jury selection, and the evidence of both parties was presented that afternoon.

Grayson Sheriff Richard Vaughan testified that Dean Anders, the defendant’s father, called him the day of the shooting — April 29, 2013 — to say that Randy Anders had just left his house and was walking in the Grassy Creek Road area.

“Anders was being sought because of arrest warrants issued by the circuit court for violation of misdemeanor probation,” Vaught said.

Sheriff Vaughan said the elder Anders had previously warned him that his son was armed, and was worried that he might shoot a deputy. Randy Anders had told his father that he “was not going back to jail,” Vaughan testified.

The sheriff dispatched three deputies — Alan Graham, Brad Brown and Travis Jefferson — to the Grassy Creek area, responding to a report that Anders was at the home of Brian Spencer.

According to the deputies’ testimony, when they arrived and searched for Anders, they found him in the basement of the residence.

“At first sighting, the officers’ flashlights allowed them to get a glimpse of Anders lying face down on the floor with his hands under his body,” Vaught said. “When illuminated, Anders jumped up and started running in the direction of the officers.

“He extended his left arm and hand, in which he was holding a chrome .25 caliber semi-automatic handgun. He was immediately instructed to drop the weapon, and after failing to drop the weapon or respond,” Vaught said.

“While continuing to advance, the officers fired their service weapons. Bullets struck the weapon in Anders’ left hand, and two other bullets struck Anders’ torso.”

At that point the officers were unsure of whether Anders was still armed, or if there were others in the basement. They regrouped in the room at the top of the basement stairs and reloaded.

“They heard Anders yelling, and instructed him to show himself with no weapons, and he made his way to the bottom of the steps,” Vaught said. “Once officers secured the area, they began administering first aid, summoned EMS and the Virginia State Police medical transport helicopter.”

Anders was flown to a Bristol hospital, where he was treated for several weeks.

The Virginia State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigations (BCI) from the Wytheville Field Office investigated the shooting and filed charges against Anders.

According to testimony, the firearm used by Anders was examined by the Department of Forensic Science and found to not be a functioning firearm due to an improper firing pin, improper spring and no firing pin follower.

Prior to sending it to the state laboratory for testing, Special Agent Brad Burnett of the Virginia State Police removed three bullets from the weapon. These bullets were determined to be .22 caliber short cartridges, not designed for Anders’ weapon.

After recovering from surgery, Anders was held as a prisoner at the New River Valley Regional Jail in Dublin until trial. Anders was represented by Independence attorney Jonathon Venzie.

At the trial, Anders testified that earlier in the day of the shooting, he had searched for ammunition for the weapon, put the three rounds he found in the gun, and was just carrying it to sell to someone.

“He said he had earlier soldered a nail into the gun as a firing pin, but maintained he knew the weapon would not work,” Vaught said. “He testified that when the officers arrived, he picked the gun up from a cabinet where he had earlier placed it and carried it to the basement with him as he went down there to hide.

“He knew the officers were looking for him, and said he hoped they would not search the basement.”

Anders testified that when he jumped up, it was to run to the basement door to escape. He said he was not running at the officers.

“He admitted having the weapon in his outstretched hand, but said he froze and could not respond, and that he was running to the door,” Vaught said.

Officers later found the door to be nailed shut, and that it did not function as an exit.

Court adjourned July 24 after evidence was presented, then the jury returned the morning of July 25 for instruction and final arguments. They deliberated for nearly seven hours before returning guilty verdicts.

“They returned their verdict on guilt or innocence about 5 p.m., and then on the sentencing about 6:30 p.m.,” Vaught said.

Anders was found guilty of the following, and the jury recommended the following sentences:

• felony assault on officer Alan Graham; a mandatory minimum sentence of six months;

• felony assault on officer Brad Brown; a mandatory minimum sentence of six months;

• felony obstruction of justice; a sentence of one year;

• use of a firearm in commission of a felony; a mandatory minimum sentence of three years; and

• transportation of a firearm while subject to a protective order; a fine of $1,250.

Anders was found not guilty of misdemeanor obstruction of justice and of attempted malicious wounding of law enforcement.

Anders was previously convicted of two counts of brandishing a firearm and one count of obstruction of justice. He was sentenced to one year in jail on each of those three misdemeanor charges.

Vaught said a sentencing hearing has been set for Sept. 29 at 1 p.m., at which time the court will receive a presentence report prepared by probation and parole officers and conduct the formal sentencing.