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Default 12-08-2005, 08:32 AM

A Campbell County teenager accused of calling himself “Mad Max” before raping and beating a 69-year-old woman may plead guilty today rather than face a jury trial on Monday.

According to the Lynchburg Circuit Court docket, Shay William Ward, 18, is scheduled for a 9:30 a.m. guilty plea hearing today.

Commonwealth’s Attorney Bill Petty refused to say what the hearing was about. Defense attorney James Angel could not be reached for comment Wednesday afternoon.

Ward is charged with rape, armed robbery, abduction, malicious wounding, breaking and entering at night with the intent to commit rape while armed with a deadly weapon, wearing a mask in public and six firearm charges.

Lynchburg police believe Ward broke into the woman’s home in the 700 block of Leesville Road on May 5 around 3:30 a.m. The woman testified in a lower court hearing in August that a masked man surprised her when she was half asleep using the bathroom.

He then ordered her into her bedroom at gunpoint, told her to call him “Mad Max” and demanded she perform a sexual act on him. The woman testified that she refused and the assailant told her he would shoot her.

That’s when the man raped her and afterward beat her in the head with a crowbar until she passed out, she said.

Ward is also charged in Campbell County with the nighttime robbery of a man at gunpoint May 3 as well as burglarizing a local garage on April 25. The victim of the armed robbery said the masked assailant threatened him with a hatchet and also called himself “Mad Max.”

Police linked Ward to the crimes after a friend told police Ward told him he had robbed someone, and items from all three incidents were found at his home on Greystone Drive, according court documents.

Ward told Lynchburg investigators he had consumed the over-the-counter cough medication - Coricidin - and that he remembered breaking into the house and robbing the woman, but not raping or beating her.

Though Ward faces up to life in prison if convicted, he could be sentenced as a juvenile by the judge because he was 17 at the time. Ward turned 18 two days after the May 5 attack.

A jury trial in Campbell County is set for March 29.

Ward’s father, David Lee Ward Jr., 41, was arrested Oct. 12 and charged in Campbell County with possession of marijuana with intent to distribute. Campbell County investigators said they found three pounds of marijuana, which is worth about $10,000, in Ward’s Greystone Drive home. He has since been released on bond.
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