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Tattoo shop owner pleads guilty to counts / February 26, 2014

Ten months after he was arrested on assault and kidnapping charges, former Clarksville downtown businessman William Carhuff has pleaded guilty to four charges — possession with intent to manufacture or distribute a controlled substance, abduction by force or intimidation, unlawful wounding, and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

Sentencing for Carhuff, former proprietor of Clarksville Tattoo Shop on Third Street, is slated for April 25.

Three other charges were dismissed this week, including a second charge for possession of a controlled substance.

Carhuff’s legal troubles began after a former employee, Jay Reid, accused Carhuff and Mike Hill, of Philadelphia, Pa., of assault and kidnapping. According to a criminal complaint filed by Reid, Carhuff and Hill held Reid against his will and assaulted him with fists and a walking stick, after accusing Reid of theft.

A raid of Carhuff’s Grace Street home in Clarksville last April — which began as a search for the walking stick allegedly used in the assault — turned up drugs, drug paraphernalia, and ammunition, according to a police report.

Clarksville officers and members of the regional Drug Task Force then expanded their search to Carhuff’s Third Street tattoo shop.

After their arrests, Carhuff and Hill were initially charged with malicious wounding and abduction/intimidation for their involvement in the alleged assault on Reid. Subsequently, the Drug Task Force added charges against both Hill and Carhuff for possession with intent to manufacture or distribute a Schedule I or Schedule II drug. Carhuff was also charged with possession of a weapon by a nonviolent felon.

Carhuff had been facing fifth charge, for grand theft auto, which was dismissed. At the time of the initial complaint, Reid claimed that Carhuff altered, without his knowledge or permission, a title to an automobile that was previously titled in Reid’s name.

Hill pleaded guilty to three charges — possession with intent to manufacture or distribute a controlled substance, abduction by force or intimidation, and unlawful wounding. On February 11, he was sentenced to five years in the penitentiary, with three years and nine months of the term suspended. Upon his release, Hill faces one year of supervised probation and must pay fines of $846.

In an unrelated case, Carhuff’s wife, Jardine Esponos, pleaded guilty to three drug related charges — one count of possession with intent to manufacture, sell, or distribute a controlled substance, and two counts of selling or distributing a controlled substance.

Esponos was arrested Oct. 23 and was released on bond a month later. Her sentencing, according to Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney Allen Nash, is set for July 11. She faces a minimum sentence of three years, and up to life in prison under Virginia’s sentencing provisions for drug-related felonies.

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