Bath deputy found guilty of firearms violations
Hot Springs, Va. – A Bath County deputy has been found guilty on charges of reckless handling of a firearm and brandishing a firearm. The misdemeanor charges against Deputy Jeremy S. Cutlip stemmed from a domestic dispute at his home in Mountain Grove on July 22. Cutlip’s wife, Becky, had moved out a few days earlier and returned that day with her two daughters and a daughter’s friend to retrieve some belongings.
Becky Cutlip testified that when she told her husband that day that their marriage was over Cutlip got his service pistol, waved it around, got into his truck and put the pistol to his head. Becky Cutlip said she was unable to call for help, because Cutlip had the only phone in the truck with him. Becky Cutlip’s older daughter and her daughter’s friend testified that Cutlip later got his service rifle out and pointed it at them while lying on the ground between two vehicles parked at the home. Cutlip’s wife and the girls left and went to the Bath County Sheriff’s Department to report what had happened.
During his testimony, Jeremy Cutlip said he had made a huge mistake when he got out his service revolver and pointed it at himself. Cutlip said after he put the revolver away that day, he felt it was best to leave to get away from the situation. He said he decided to go do some target shooting to let off some steam, and then got his rifle out of his patrol vehicle. He testified that he put it in his truck, then got down on the ground to look for and pick up his tobacco which he had dropped. Cutlip said he did not point the rifle at anyone and never waved or pointed his pistol in a threatening way. Cutlip said he had the phone with him in the truck, because he had been trying to call his dad, hoping he would be able to talk to Becky Cutlip.
Bath County Sheriff Robert Plecker testified that immediately after the incident Cutlip was placed on administrative leave with pay. Sheriff Plecker said Cutlip underwent a mental health evaluation to determine his fitness to return to work and was given the ok. Sheriff Plecker said with a conviction there was a very good chance Cutlip could be fired and if not convicted Plecker said he’d have Cutlip come back to work the next day.
Judge William H. Cleaveland told Cutlip that he’d had an excellent career as a law enforcement officer. Judge Cleaveland said that domestic situations are the most volatile and dangerous ones and when firearms are introduced, the danger level escalates exponentially. He said that Cutlip, in his profession of law enforcement, knew the level of risk with domestic disputes and firearms.
Judge Cleaveland said he didn’t believe Cutlip’s explanation and he said he did not see a future in law enforcement for Cutlip. Judge Cleaveland found Cutlip guilty of one count of reckless handling of a firearm and three counts of brandishing of a firearm, resulting in suspended jail time, with a total fine of $300. Cutlip was also ordered to have no contact with his wife, her daughters and the daughter’s friend.