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Steve Gilliard, 1964-2007

It is with tremendous sadness that we must convey the news that Steve Gilliard, editor and publisher of The News Blog, passed away June 2, 2007. He was 42.

To those who have come to trust The News Blog and its insightful, brash and unapologetic editorial tone, we have Steve to thank from the bottom of our hearts. Steve helped lead many discussions that mattered to all of us, and he tackled subjects and interest categories where others feared to tread.

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photo by lindsay beyerstein


Cup thrower spared

Driver convicted of felony for throwing ice into another car spared from prison

STAFFORD, Va. — A woman convicted of a felony for throwing a cup of ice into a car that cut her off in traffic was sentenced to probation instead of prison, a judge ruled Wednesday.

Jessica Hall faced between two and five years in prison after she was convicted last month of maliciously throwing a missile — the cup of ice — into an occupied vehicle. No one was injured in the incident last summer.

"The facts of this case ... suggest that the sentence in this case should be reduced,'' Judge Frank A. Hoss Jr. told Hall, who thanked the judge and cried.

Hall must remain on good behavior for five years and also must pay fines and court costs.

She has been in jail since Jan. 4 and it wasn't immediately clear whether she would be released Wednesday.

Prosecutor Daniel M. Chichester said Hall's actions were serious, even though no one was injured. "It is important to remember that it is not what is thrown but the danger created by that act,'' Chichester said.

On a sticky day in July, Hall was driving north on Interstate 95 with her children and her pregnant sister. Traffic had slowed to a crawl when, she said, another car cut her off twice, once causing her to swerve onto the shoulder.

Angered, she flung a McDonald's cup of ice into the other car, where it flew across the driver and landed all over his girlfriend. The couple said they hadn't even noticed Hall's car until the cup landed.

The girlfriend, Eliza Fowle, defended their decision to report the crime but said she thought a prison sentence was too much punishment for her actions.

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