JOHN C. YOWELL, 19 Takes stand in defense


Guilty verdicts in Crewe B&Es

A Prince Edward County man, who changed his story to authorities, is awaiting sentencing after being convicted last week in Nottoway on more than a dozen charges stemming from crimes at Crewe Tractor and Crewe Flea Market.

John C. Yowell, 19, of Good Hope Road, Pamplin, who was 18 at the time of the offenses, admitted to some counts and was convicted of others during a bench trial last Tuesday, July 21st, in Nottoway Circuit Court.

Yowell pled Guilty to Attempted Breaking & Entering, Contributing to the Delinquency of a Minor, and Destruction of Property relating to a Nov. 18th, 2019 incident at Crewe Tractor, where a brick was thrown through a window in an attempt to steal property.

Yowell pled not Not Guilty to eight counts of Breaking & Entering, one count of Attempted Breaking & Entering, and Grand Larceny at Crewe Flea Market.

Over the course of approximately two hours, 12 witnesses testified for Commonwealth’s Attorney Leanne Watrous, and Yowell took the stand in his own defense.

Ten witnesses testified that they rented units at Crewe Flea Market and that when they last left their units, their doors were closed and secured.

Each unit had its own lease and its own secured door. However, for nine of the witnesses, their doors were forcefully opened and property had been taken on or about November 18, 2019. One unit had a boot print on the door, but the door remained closed.

Crewe Police Department responded to Crewe Flea Market on November 19, 2019 -- when the breaking and entering was discovered -- and took pictures of the damage to doors and units.

A few days later, Yowell was interviewed by a Deputy with Nottoway County Sheriff’s Office, where authorities say he confessed to both the incident at Crewe Tractor and at Crewe Flea Market. In his confession, which was recorded and introduced into evidence, Yowell provided specific details about which items had been taken from the Crewe Flea Market as well as how the doors were breached.

At trial, however, Yowell testified that he was present only at the Crewe Tractor incident and that he went home afterward.

Yowell testified that a juvenile he had been with at Crewe Tractor broke into the Crewe Flea Market and told Yowell about it later, but that Yowell wasn’t present at Crewe Flea Market and didn’t participate in the breaking and entering or larceny. He testified that his confession wasn’t accurate, that he had been covering for the juvenile.

Judge Paul Cella found Yowell guilty of eight counts of Breaking & Entering, one count of Attempted Breaking & Entering, and Petit Larceny.

Sentencing for Yowell will be set in September or October.

Blackstone Courier Record

111 Maple St.

Blackstone, VA 23824

(434) 292-3019