GATE CITY — A Scott County man could spend life in prison after being convicted of holding his estranged wife against her will at gunpoint after breaking into their residence last year.
Brett Freeman, 27, of Blackwater, Va., pleaded guilty Friday to multiple felonies in Scott County Circuit Court, including breaking and entering with a deadly weapon, abduction, use of a firearm in the commission of a felony and reckless use of a firearm.
Breaking and entering with a deadly weapon is considered a Class 2 felony in Virginia and carries a maximum sentence of life in prison. He is scheduled to be sentenced in September by 30th Circuit Judge John Kilgore.
Scott County Commonwealth’s Attorney said Freeman’s conviction was the result of a domestic dispute that happened early last year.
McClung said Freeman had no criminal history prior to entering his guilty pleas.
“He didn’t have any prior criminal history and oftentimes when a man or woman are dealing with those types of emotions they sometimes just snap and they do things they wish they wouldn’t have done,” McClung said. “I don’t know if that’s his particular case, but he went from having no prior criminal history to facing life in prison because of it.”
According to Scott County authorities, Freeman broke into the Blackwater residence he previously shared with his estranged wife in the early morning hours of Feb. 25, 2012.
Freeman’s wife reportedly awoke to find a masked man standing over her bed and pointing a gun at her. Authorities said she eventually learned the intruder was in fact her husband, and he subsequently removed his mask.
For the next four or five hours, McClung said Freeman held his wife in their home at gunpoint without allowing her to leave. At one point, Freeman even fired two rounds inside the residence, McClung said.
The incident came to an end, McClung said, when Freeman let his wife go shortly before Scott County authorities arrived at the home.
“These cases are so dangerous,” McClung said. “When tempers are flaring and you’re talking about husbands and wives, or kids, and oftentimes they don’t end where the victim is let go, but it did this time.”
McClung said Freeman was arrested later the same day by the Scott County Sheriff’s Office. While taking him into custody, authorities reportedly found the weapon he used in the incident, as well as a mask he wore during the break-in.