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Halifax man gets 20-year sentence / February 11, 2019

A 23-year-old Halifax man was sentenced Thursday to 20 years in prison for the armed entry of a Clover-area home on March 28, 2018.

A Halifax County Circuit Court jury convicted Diante Lequan Womack of the offense and imposed the 20-year minimum sentence under the state’s sentencing guidelines. Womack also was convicted of destruction of property, a misdemeanor, and given a 12-month jail term on the lesser charge with all time suspended.

Circuit Judge Kim White denied a defense motion to set aside the jury’s verdict.

The incident in question took place at night at the residence of John and Kaye Tanner, a short distance from James D. Hagood Highway in the Clover area. As Mrs. Tanner and their four children were asleep, Womack entered the home through a window and knocked over a vase at the fireplace. Awakened by the noise, Mrs. Tanner confronted the defendant, who was carrying an unopened knife, and calmly talked to him before police arrived.

She told Womack that he couldn’t just break into someone’s home and not expect to not go to jail, according to media accounts provided by the Tanners at the time. When county deputies arrived at the residence, they found Womack sitting on a sofa, intoxicated.

John Tanner was returning home from work around the time his wife confronted the defendant.

According to Mrs. Tanner, Womack told her he entered the home because his car had broken down and he was looking for a warm place to stay the night. The car described by Womack was later found by deputies a short distance from the home.

The case was handled by special prosecutor Bryan Haskins, Pittsylvania County Commonwealth’s Attorney. Womack was represented by defense attorney John Greenbacker of Halifax.

Also Thursday, a Halifax man received a seven-year active prison term for armed burglary and malicious wounding arising from an August 2018 robbery and attack.

Christian Caleb Lockhart, 25, received a total sentence of 30 years for the crimes, with all but seven years suspended. Circuit Judge Kim White imposed a 20-year term for the robbery charge, with all but five years suspended, and 10 years for malicious wounding, with all but two years suspended.

Lockhart was further ordered to have no contact with Frankie Wilkerson, who was wounded on the night of the incident, Aug. 20, 2018, and will be placed on two years supervised probation following his release from prison.

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