Clarke Statue

This is the Confederate monument outside the Clarke County Courthouse.

BERRYVILLE — A Confederate statue outside the Clarke County Courthouse doesn’t mean a Black man accused of shooting at a white deputy can’t get a fair trial in the county.

“The presumption of showing widespread prejudice has not been overcome and a jury can easily be seated in this case,” Anne M. Williams, county commonwealth’s attorney, wrote in a Nov. 16 response to a defense motion to remove the Confederate monument or move the trial of defendant Timothy Bias Neal out of the county. “The defense has not presented a single argument or issue regarding the community’s feelings for or against the defendant.”

On Oct. 5, 2019, Neal was filmed on a police cruiser camera firing a shot from a .45-caliber semi-automatic pistol at now-retired Clarke County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Nicholas Donald Chambers in an apparent suicide-by-cop attempt. The shooting occurred in the median on Harry Flood Byrd Highway (Va. 7).

Chambers was responding to a call for an ambulance and was checking Neal’s driver’s license when the shot hit the cruiser’s front bumper. Chambers returned fire, wounding Neal in the right arm. Neal, 35, of Herndon, has been charged with attempted capital murder of a police officer, use of a firearm in a felony, possession of a firearm by a felon and malicious shooting.

In an Oct. 14 motion to Judge Alexander R. Iden, Timothy S. Coyne, area public defender, wrote that the statue, which stands about 100 feet from the courthouse and praises the Confederacy, impairs Neal’s ability to get equal justice. The statute and the Confederate sympathizers who spoke at a Monument Committee meeting on March 14 supporting the statue and the Confederacy — at least one also praised slavery — illustrate the need to move the statue or the trial, according to Coyne.

He noted several courts around Virginia have removed symbols of white supremacy. They include Louisa County where a judge ordered the removal of a portrait of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee from the courtroom.

“The monument is discriminatory and conveys a message of white supremacy,” Coyne said of the statue, which was erected in 1900 and shows a Confederate soldier saddened by the news of Lee’s surrender at Appomattox in 1865. “In an era where the public reckoning with institutional bias, the looming presence of the monument and statue at the very steps of the courthouse sends a message that non-white citizens, including Mr. Neal, are, and will be, treated differently.”

Williams countered that Iden has no power to remove the statue.

“It is apparent that neither the monument, nor the private entity that owns the monument, are subject to this court’s control,” Williams wrote. “The court does not have the legal authority to order the removal of a monument in a criminal prosecution.”

The statue was last owned by the now defunct Association of the Survivors of the Clarke Cavalry. In response to the removal of Confederate monuments around Virginia and the nation in the last few years, the county filed a motion in court last month to take possession of the statue.

Also seeking possession and preservation through litigation is the Sons of Confederate Veterans Turner Ashby Camp #1567. Ashby’s history in the county dates back to before the Civil War, according to the group’s website. Before becoming a Confederate general, the website said Ashby led a vigilante mob that forced abolitionist John Curtiss Underwood and his family out of Clarke County in 1856. President Lincoln later named Underwood a federal judge in Virginia and he presided over the grand jury that indicted Confederate President Jefferson Davis for treason. Davis was pardoned by President Andrew Johnson.

While Coyne argued that the views of the pro-Confederate speakers at the meeting represent the views of the majority of county residents, Williams disagreed.

She noted there are 11,741 registered voters in Clarke County who are eligible for jury duty in the county, far exceeding the 39 speakers at the meeting. She said defense attorneys could strike the Confederate sympathizers who spoke at the meeting from the jury pool if they’re selected for the case.

“That is their remedy,” Williams wrote. “The remedy is not to change venue because there has been absolutely no showing of ‘widespread prejudice’ in this community against the defendant.”

Iden is expect to rule on the motions at Neal’s next court appearance. It’s scheduled for 9 a.m. on Jan. 10.

— Contact Evan Goodenow at

(23) comments

john brown

Looking at it, it really is a very ugly poorly made piece of ________


Oh so if its made of gold then its okay to stay. Oh i see. Wait, lots of MLK statues are made of the same stuff. Cheers


Calm down, dude... Why so emotional?


Oh, okay, guy. Despite 10 file cabinets full of MLKs rather embarrassing and disgusting acts on tape --mind you ordered to be made by attorney Robt Kennedy and to be rleased by the natl archives in 2027...cant wait-- we respect his many memorials. . So walk the walk. can. Cheers


2027 is gonna be a fun year. natl archives to release all the truth on a certain communist. Cheers

john brown

To make it fairer, why not permanently place poster signs that say Black Lives Matter on the front of the courthouse in an attempt to offset the confederate jim crow statue attempting to honor slavery and those who fought to keep human beings in slavery.


awww, you mean like "Known Community" on every MLK statue? Oh I see. Cheers

Old Western Man

Seems a rather desperate appeal to gain a more "sympathetic" venue.

Mr. Neal should have committed the crime in Fairfax, but then he would have to request the county change its name.[unsure] Maybe even another state, given that Virginia is named in recognition of Elizabeth I.[beam] Probably best though that the trial just be moved to another country entirely, given generation-Zinn's "boogeyman" Columbus.[lol] The field of criminal defense has never had so much opportunity.[innocent]


Its typical leftists tactics. Everyone to blame BUT THE FACTUAL CRIME.

Catherine Giovannoni

Regardless of its impact on this trial, the racist statue needs to go. It has no place on or near the grounds of a court house.


You know what needs to go, bot? The Democrat party! That same party that defended slavery, internment camps, segregation, and murdering human beings in the womb. It deserves no place in the public square.


Please, remove us. Tell ya what, come to the Board meeting Wednesday and try.



john brown



Well maybe you need to be tolerant. Abraham Lincoln and General Grant didnt have a problem with them like you seem to 170 years later. I know, its easier picking at these ghosts rather than solving the problems youve created in every Democratic run city. Solve those problems first. Then worry about the sliver in ours. Mkay

Clarke County Hokie

Tim Coyne continues to toe the line with his liberal logic...

Whistle Dixie

Disarm Statues!!!

We need Statue Control now!

Doc Samson

@Whistle - [lol] I noticed you don't hear them screaming about tighter SUV laws after Waukesha. Weird... but not really.


Yep. Because the victims dont fit the narrative.


Good one


We are rationalising the criminal act by blaming monuments and that the world isnt perfect and affirming for the criminal who committed the act. [beam]


Anne M. Williams, county commonwealth’s attorney wants to erase our heritage to accomodate her transient interests. How sad. Extending the EXCUSE for bad behaviour because the world isnt perfect. Yeh, sure. Cheers

Doc Samson

@KohenCause - "Extending the EXCUSE for bad behaviour because the world isnt perfect" [thumbup] And that is the Pr0g-Left rationale for every single incident involving their own. Naturally, the ONLY way to cure their outrage (and all those peaceful protests) it is MOAR GUBMINT!

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