ACCOMAC, Va. (Delmarvanow.com) -- A former Virginia State Police trooper was ordered to serve 100 hours of community service after he pleaded guilty in Accomack County court to three misdemeanor charges of making false entry of records by an officer.
Johnny Godwin, 43, of Greenbackville, was initially charged with six felony counts of forging public records for writing summonses for nonexistent offenses and signing a person’s name on three of the summons.
Under a plea agreement with the commonwealth, Godwin pleaded guilty to three misdemeanor charges while three other charges were dismissed.
The alleged offenses happened in late 2016, according to court records.
Judge Stephen Mahan accepted the plea agreement during a hearing on Friday and sentenced Godwin to 12 months on each of the three misdemeanor counts and suspended all that time.
During the hearing, Godwin’s attorney, Christopher Voltin of Newport News, noted his client’s 20 years of exemplary service as a trooper.
He said Godwin was under a lot of pressure and “made a very, very poor choice.” He called Godwin’s character “outstanding” and said he took ownership of his actions.
In court he also told the story of Godwin’s saving a child’s life in July 2016 for which he was widely hailed as a hero.
Godwin was traveling south on Route 13 just before 6 p.m. Saturday, July 2, on his way to take his daughter to college in Blacksburg when he saw a child about 1 to 2 years old standing in the middle of the southbound right lane near a curve in the highway in Temperanceville.
Godwin stopped his vehicle in the roadway to block traffic, got out of his vehicle "and grabbed the child out of the path of oncoming traffic as (the child) attempted to run toward the lefthand lane," 1st Sgt. B.E. Jeff Jones, area commander, said at the time.
Godwin stayed with the child until a Child Protective Services representative arrived.
Paul B. Ebert, Prince William County commonwealth's attorney, who handled the case because of the conflict of interest with local attorneys and prosecutors, called the plea agreement “a good disposition.”
He said Godwin had an outstanding record as a trooper.
“He sees the error of his ways,” he told the court.
Announcing the sentence, Judge Mahan also said Godwin was barred from holding any office of honor or trust in the commonwealth.