Virginia felon pleads guilty to gun possession charge

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(Delmarvanow.com) -- A convicted felon who was caught carrying a shotgun in Exmore after a resident reported hearing gunfire in the area pleaded guilty to a weapons charge in Northampton County Court.

Separately, Fred Munford III also pleaded guilty to a petty larceny, second offense, misdemeanor charge in connection with theft of women’s clothing from a store in Exmore.

Facing a charge of possession of a gun by a violent felon, Munford admitted he fired a shotgun near his home in April.

In a plea agreement before his bench trial was to start in court Tuesday, the commonwealth agreed to amend the charge to possession of a firearm by a nonviolent felon in exchange for Munford’s guilty plea. 

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The court heard that Exmore police responded to a report of gunfire and found Munford walking around with a shotgun. Police also found a Facebook photo of Munford holding the same firearm.

Munford was convicted in 2015 of aggravated sexual battery, a violent felony, when he was 16 years old, the court heard.

As Judge W. Revell Lewis III explained the ramifications of a guilty plea, Munford interjected that he had no idea he was not supposed to own or use a firearm and that no one ever told him that when he was convicted as a juvenile. 

On the witness stand, Munford told the court he worked as an independent contractor, but, when questioned about contractor’s licenses by the judge, he admitted he had none. 

“There is not a chance in the world Mr. Munford was not advised by his probation officer that he could not own a gun,” said Commonwealth’s Attorney Bruce Jones. 

He called Munford “a fast talker” and said he did not endorse the idea of Munford remaining on bond pending sentencing.

In the larceny case, the court heard that Munford walked into the Dollar General in Exmore and stuffed a pair of shorts and a sports bra into his pants from the women’s clothing section.

“He was intoxicated and wandering erratically,” said Commonwealth’s Attorney Bruce Jones.

He was seen on the store’s surveillance video and arrested a few days later, Jones told the court. 

Judge Lewis sentenced Munford to 10 days of active jail time and to pay $22 in restitution on the larceny conviction. He remanded him to jail to serve that time and to await sentencing on the firearm charge. 

The judge ordered that a presentence investigation report be prepared on the weapons charge.