Written by: Sam Orlando
ACSO Deputy Has First Appearance After Arrest for Violent Felony
CHARLOTTESVILLE, VIRGINIA - Augusta County Sheriff's Office is once again under intense scrutiny following the court appearance of Sgt. William Mikolay. The unfolding saga, highlighting alleged police misconduct, saw significant developments today as Sgt. Mikolay, accompanied by Sheriff Donald Smith, appeared for an 8:30 AM attorney advisement session on serious felony charges.
Details of the Court Appearance
Sgt. Mikolay was in court Monday morning in Albemarle County at 8:30 AM. He faced the judge on charges of felony malicious wounding and assault and battery, carrying potential sentences of 5 to 20 years and up to 12 months, respectively. Represented by Richmond criminal defense attorney Andrew Meyer, Mikolay had his bond conditions continued, with a preliminary hearing set for December 7, 2023.
Startling Revelations in Court
In a striking revelation, Breaking Through News learned that upon his arrest, Mikolay was ordered held without bond by Magistrate Kate Ryder.
However, in an unprecedented move, the Albemarle Commonwealth Attorney intervened, ensuring Mikolay's release for Thanksgiving.
This judicial decision has raised eyebrows and sparked debates over potential preferential treatment within the justice system.
Breaking Through News reached Albemarle County Commonwealth's Attorney James Hingeley after Court, and we asked him why the Sgt. was released on his own recognizance after a magistrate judge ordered him held without bond until Court on Monday, November 27, 2023. Hingeley asserted that there were "further proceedings in the case that resulted in a bond being set." When Breaking Through News pointed out that this type of treatment, a bond reconsideration from a magistrate denial on the same day, was unusual, Hingeley responded that he wasn't going to go through the history of his cases, but that the Commonwealth's agreement to a bond after a magistrate denial is not unusual.
One thing is definitely true, but for Albemarle County Commonwealth's Attorney Hingeley's intervention, William Mikolay would have spent his Thanksgiving at the Albemarle Regional Jail. When asked if this same courtesy was shown other defendants arrested on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, Hingeley responded that he wasn't aware of any arrests on that day that resulted in a decision to remand the defendant without bond.
Background of the Case
The case stems from a high-speed chase initiated by Sgt. Mikolay in Augusta County, which ended in Albemarle County with the alleged violent 'curb stomping' of Adam Ryan Martin, resulting in Martin's severe injuries. In a recent twist, it has been revealed that there were two victims, including Tina Marie Lang, a female passenger.
Mikolay is not only charged with malicious wounding for Martin, but he is also charged with assaulting Martin's female passenger. Sheriff Smith's early statements about the incident indicated that the female stayed in the vehicle with another deputy, which appears inconsistent with the facts in the state police obtained warrant. Mikolay faces up to 12 months in jail, separate from the malicious wounding charge, for assaulting Lang.
These are the warrants obtained against Mikolay by special agents of the Virginia State Police.
Department's Troubled History
This incident is part of a pattern of misconduct within the Augusta County Sheriff’s Office. Earlier this year, Deputy CJ Taylor faced arrest for assaulting civilians, underscoring a culture of alleged abuse and unaccountability.
Given Sheriff Smith's email announcing his "110% support of Mikolay", questions arise about whether the Sheriff is taking allegations of police violence seriously, and whether his support of these deputies is causing a culture of increased police violence and misconduct in Augusta County.
Sheriff's Stance and Irony of No Body Cameras
Sheriff Smith's opposition to body cameras has been criticized for obscuring the truth in such cases. His unwavering support for Sgt. Mikolay, despite the severity of the charges, was evident both in his accompaniment to court and his assertive support in internal communications.
Had the Sheriff not opposed body cams, which he did before the Board of Supervisor's previous budget session, perhaps Sgt. Mikolay could be cleared if he is innocent. Unfortunately, Sheriff Smith's quest to defeat body cameras was successful, and the acquisition of that evidence is no longer available.
Community Awaits Justice
As the case progresses, it has become a focal point for discussions on police accountability. The community and observers are closely watching the proceedings, particularly in light of the unusual judicial decisions and the sheriff’s staunch backing of his deputy.
At the same time, expanding details from Court documents raise serious questions about Mikolay's actions, including the assault of a female passenger. Given the magistrate that heard the case was convinced Mikolay should be jailed without bond, some wonder whether his release was safe for the community.
Future Proceedings and Implications
Sgt. Mikolay's next appearance is scheduled for December 7, 2023, at 9 AM at the Albemarle General District Court. With two deputies now charged with violent crimes and a sheriff firmly supporting them, the case is seen as a critical test of the criminal justice system's fairness and integrity, especially when law enforcement officers are the accused.
Stay tuned to Breaking Through News for further updates on this critical and evolving story, and subscribe to our news content on the News Break app, and on our website at breakingthrough.com.