Billy Joe Ramey, age 34 of Big Stone Gap, was sentenced in the Wise County Circuit Court today for two counts of breaking & entering, two counts of grand larceny, and one count of destruction of property.
Ramey previously pled guilty to his crimes on May 2, 2017 without a plea agreement, meaning that a judge would determine his sentence after presentation of evidence at a sentencing hearing. After hearing evidence, the court sentenced Ramey to seven years with three years and one month suspended. He will have to serve an active term of incarceration of three years and eleven months within the Virginia Department of Corrections. He was also ordered to pay restitution and will be required to serve four years of supervised probation upon his release from incarceration.
Ramey's convictions stem from an investigation by the Wise County Sheriff's Office into multiple home invasions in the Powell Valley Road section of Big Stone Gap in Wise County in early 2016. On May 26, 2016, Deputy J.D. Helton responded to a call from two separate individuals reporting items missing from their homes and property damage. The investigation led to Ramey, who had been attempting to pawn items at a local pawnshop. A search of Ramey's apartment yielded various items taken from both homes, including clothing, jewelry, and electronics valued at more than $1,000.00.
Slemp commented, "Home invasions are everyone's worst fear. We justifiably expect to be safe and secure in our homes. When a brazen criminal violates the sanctuary of one's home, it should be met with swift and severe punishment. We hope that the sentence imposed today sends a clear message that this behavior will not be tolerated in Wise County or the City of Norton. We further hope that the sentence will continue the healing process for the victims in this case and restore the sense of security they should feel in their homes."
The case was successfully prosecuted by Commonwealth's Attorney Chuck Slemp and Chief Deputy Commonwealth's Attorneys Steven Davis.
Slemp also thanked the efforts made by Sheriff Ronnie Oakes and the Wise County Sheriff's Department for their investigation into this matter. "I would like to commend Sheriff Oakes and the Deputies for their hard work during this investigation, their training, knowledge, and teamwork."