A tip in West Virginia ultimately led to the capture and arrest Wednesday night of Cheston Stoneman, the Hillsville man wanted for maliciously wounding a Wythe County Deputy on April 27.
According to Carroll County Sheriff J.B. Gardner, at approximately 8:10 p.m. on Wednesday, Stoneman was taken into custody by members of the Carroll County Sheriff’s Office, the Virginia State Police and Wythe County Sheriff’s Office. Stoneman, 32, was arrested at a residence off Joy Ranch Road after law enforcement officials received information that he may be inside the residence.
According to Chief Deputy Keith Dunagan of the Wythe County Sheriff’s Office, investigators from Wythe County searching for Stoneman were following a lead that took them to Lashmeet, West Virginia.
“Stoneman was not located in West Virginia, but while in Lashmeet investigators received a tip that Stoneman was at a trailer located on Joy Ranch Road in Hillsville,” Dunagan said.
Stoneman was arrested on warrants from Wythe County for the April 27 malicious wounding of Deputy Zach Puckett. Stoneman slashed Puckett across the hand with a knife while Puckett was attempting to take Stoneman into custody. Stoneman was also served with warrants from Carroll County for probation violations for six previous felony convictions. Stoneman was transported to the New River Valley Regional Jail with no bond.
Sheriff Gardner said Stoneman did not resist arrest and was very cooperative when law enforcement made contact with him on Joy Ranch Road.
“I think he was tired of running,” Gardner said.
Stoneman had been on the run for 11 days since the incident in which Puckett was injured following a trespassing complaint on Rose Hollow Road in the Max Meadows/Major Grahams area of Wythe County. When deputies responded, they found a bonfire and four individuals. Stoneman fled on foot before being caught by Puckett. Stoneman then allegedly slashed Puckett across the hand with his knife and dove into the New River and swam away.
Stoneman was believed to be in possession of a .38 revolver and has a history of running from authorities. Many people, including Gardner, thought if Stoneman was caught, he wouldn’t go quietly. Considering those factors, Gardner said the arrest Wednesday night went as good as it possibly could have gone.
“He is facing a lot of time in prison. I was afraid he would make a stupid choice, but he didn’t,” Gardner said. “He had made statements he wasn’t going back and it was on my mind and I think it was on everybody’s mind. But it couldn’t have gone any better. It worked out the way it was supposed to work out. God helped us out a lot on that one.”
Gardner said he and Corporal Mark Dickerson of the Carroll County Sheriff’s Office took Stoneman into custody. Stoneman was unarmed when arrested.
According to the Carroll County Sheriff, the U.S. Marshal’s Service is interested in the case. Marshals are pursuing charges because they believe someone has been helping Stoneman.
“They are looking to charge somebody because someone has been harboring a fugitive,” Gardner said. “I am excited that they are involved.”
The Wythe County Sheriff’s Office thanked the Carroll County Sheriff’s Office, the Virginia State Police and the U.S. Marshal’s Service for their help in arresting Stoneman.
“We are very happy to have him behind bars,” Dunagan said.