Saunders trial continued

Published 12:30 pm Thursday, December 8, 2016

A trial for a 52-year-old Dillwyn man who’s charged with 59 felonies and 11 misdemeanors surrounding the alleged sexual abuse of two minors has been continued.

According to court documents, Richard Wayne Saunders was directly indicted by a grand jury on five of the 70 charges in June 2015 and indicted on the other 65 that September.

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According to Commonwealth’s Attorney E.M. Wright Jr., Saunders hired new counsel “and the matter was continued.”

A hearing is now set for Jan. 27, according to court records.

The charges include sodomy, incest, aggravated sexual battery and child pornography.

“The sheriff’s office received a call of a sexual abuse of a minor on … May 25, (2015),” said A.R. Taylor, an investigator with the Buckingham County Sheriff’s Office, in a previous interview.

“He was originally arrested and charged on arrest warrants on that date related (to) sexual abuse of a minor that had been ongoing the previous month,” Taylor said.

As the investigation continued, Taylor said, “we executed several search warrants at his residence as well as on some computer records and electronic records, and as a result of all the search warrants related to the first incident there was another series of incidents discovered going back eight years.”

After law enforcement authorities searched the content of some of Saunders’ electronics, “that’s when he was indicted on all the charges that are now pending.”

Two victims are associated with the charges, Taylor said. One is an adult who was a minor when the crimes were allegedly committed, and the other is a 14-year-old, he said.

“As a result of the initial investigation, I executed a search and seizure warrant for electronics and we seized some electronic equipment that was his…. When we did a search warrant for the content, we found a plethora of information in there which allowed us to charge him the child pornography charges as well as some of the other incidents,” Taylor said.

Saunders remains at Piedmont Regional Jail without bond.