Parents’ support helps man avoid jail

By Terri Flagg -

DOBSON — Several charges including first degree kidnapping were dismissed against a Mount Airy defendant whose parents — the alleged victims — refused to participate with the prosecution in Surry County Superior Court on Tuesday.

Through a plea arrangement, Christopher Aaron Orange, 44, of Sky View Lane, pleaded guilty to felony and misdemeanor charges stemming from incidents that occurred within a week in October 2013.

“This is a somewhat unique case,” said Mike Beal, assistant district attorney, explaining that Orange’s parents had spoken on the record during the February term of Superior Court.

Due to uncertainty regarding the amount of pretrial credit for time served Orange was owed, the plea had been pushed back to the administrative session in March that began Monday.

Massey recalled that the Oranges were “quite emphatic they would not cooperate in the state’s prosecution.”

On Tuesday, the couple each restated for the record their position had not changed.

Orange pleaded guilty to possession of methamphetamine, possession of a controlled substance on jail premises, possession of drug paraphernalia, interfering with emergency communication and communicating threats.

Charges of first degree kidnapping, assault inflicting serious injury, assault on a female, communicating threats, injury to personal property, assault with a deadly weapon and possession with intent to distribute a schedule II controlled substance were dismissed.

While relating the factual basis for the plea, Beal stated that Orange’s vehicle was searched at a checkpoint On Oct. 19, 2013 after officers saw drugs and paraphernalia inside.

Methamphetamine and smoking devices were also found on his person at the stop.

Officers found more drugs in his pocket as he was booked into the Surry County Jail for those charges.

A few days later, on Oct. 24, officers responding to a domestic disturbance at the Orange’s residence found the defendant there with his parents.

Beal said Orange had indicated to his father that he would “shoot him when he got out,” and that “he had broken several telephones, interfering with their ability to call 911,” leading to charges of communicating threats and interfering with emergency communications.

The prosecutor described the case as “an unusual situation for me,” describing the Oranges as nice and cooperative, “considering the length of time this has been going on.”

Patrick Casstevens, attorney for the defense, spoke on behalf of his client during sentencing, backing up to 2003 when an arm injury forced Orange out of his job as a lineman for Pike Electric.

“His job was his life,” Casstevens said. “He filled that void with things a person shouldn’t do.”

The attorney indicated that the years since his arrest for these charges his client had been either in custody or rehab and was currently engaged in effective mental health and substance abuse treatment.

Communication skills learned through treatment had been beneficial for Orange and his parents.

“Their relationship is the best it has been in a long time,” Casstevens said. “I do believe he would make a fine candidate for probation.”

For the consolidated felony convictions Massey gave Orange a suspended intermediate sentence of ten to 20 months with 36 months of supervised probation and 120 days confinement in the county jail with 297 days credit for time served.

For the remaining convictions, Orange was given a suspended consecutive sentence of 150 days in the Misdemeanor Inmate Confinement Program with 30 days credit for time served and 36 months of supervised probation.

“I don’t know what happened on Oct. 24, 2016. My guess it was pretty bad,” Massey said. “Make certain whatever happened, it doesn’t repeat.”

The judge also encouraged Orange to thank his parents by staying on track.

“Thank them and let them know how much you appreciate them,” he said. “You will never have friends like your mother and father. Treat them accordingly.”

By Terri Flagg

Reach Terri Flagg at 415-4734.

Reach Terri Flagg at 415-4734.

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