Trial delayed in assault case stemming from GOP meeting

Published 8:47 pm Monday, July 24, 2023

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Jennifer Boykin will have to wait a while longer for her day in court.

Boykin, a member of Isle of Wight County’s Planning Commission, is charged with misdemeanor assault and battery for allegedly grabbing a Suffolk woman in a dispute over the method of selecting a Republican nominee for Virginia’s new 17th Senate District.

Judge Helivi Holland, on July 13 in Isle of Wight County General District Court, ordered Boykin’s trial delayed indefinitely after learning Isle of Wight County Commonwealth’s Attorney Georgette Phillips had recused her office from prosecuting the case.

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Dawn Jones, a former chairwoman of Suffolk’s GOP chapter, filed the criminal complaint against Boykin six days after the two attended a March 8 meeting of the 17th’s city- and county-level GOP chairs. The complaint alleges Boykin grabbed Jones’ arm, held her cellphone in Jones’ face to record her and yelled at Jones as the two were leaving the Ruritan clubhouse in Walters, where the meeting was held.

Jones has filed for misdemeanor assistance, which allows the alleged victim of a misdemeanor crime to request the matter be prosecuted by a commonwealth’s attorney. According to Isle of Wight County’s website, its commonwealth’s attorney’s office, with few exceptions, involves its attorneys in the prosecution of misdemeanor cases only when a victim requests assistance.

With Phillips having recused her office, fulfilling Jones’ request will, according to Holland, entail a Circuit Court judge reviewing the case and, if he or she finds “good cause,” appointing a special prosecutor from a neighboring locality.

The special prosecutor, if appointed, would then review the matter and determine whether the case moves forward.

Boykin declined to comment on the postponement, deferring to her attorney, Fred Taylor, who had called Jones’ request a “delay tactic.”

Jones also declined to comment.

Jones, following the March 8 meeting, successfully sued the state to force the then-scheduled June 3 GOP-run convention to change to a June 20 primary election. The election saw Del. Emily Brewer, R-Isle of Wight, defeat Emporia businessman Hermie Sadler with 58.7% of more than 16,000 districtwide votes to Sadler’s 41.2%.