Michael Melkonian

Public Safety Reporter, Fauquier Times

Location icon United States of America

contact me: [email protected]


Fauquier Times, June 2015 to present

Parents: system stacks the odds against heroin addicts

Caroline Folker and her daughter Lauren hold a photo of Kathrine Folker, who died this year of a heroin overdose. Fauquier Times Staff Photo/Randy Litzinger "Heroin addiction ends in one of three ways: you go to jail, get clean, or you die," said Cathy Iliff.

'We were trying to get him help'

The five brothers back in 2001, youngest to oldest: Josh, Brent, Keith, Wayne and Greg. (Courtesy Photo) For the first time in a year following the shooting of Joshua Michael Simpson in Old Town Warrenton last October, the Simpson family is speaking out.

Family grieves 27 years after unsolved murder

October is always a sad month for Lorraine Thorpe. On Oct. 23, she will go to her daughter's grave at a small family cemetery to change the wreath and water the flowers at the grave of her murdered daughter.

Justice spread thin: Public defenders strain under large case loads

In 2014 the office of the public defender handled over 1,700 cases. Up until recently, that heavy load was handled by four experienced attorneys, with pay for a fifth position approved. But because these state employees make less than private lawyers or public defenders in some other counties, Kevin Gerrity, Fauquier's deputy public defender, has watched his stable of experienced criminal lawyers dwindle away.

Gregg found guilty of two counts of involuntary manslaughter Friday afternoon

Gregg is escorted out of court Friday afternoon after two guilty convictions and recommended sentence of twenty years in prison. Staff Photo/Randy Litzenger In an emotionally charged moment, after the jury returned two guilty verdicts and after more than 10 hours of deliberation, the victim's mother broke down in a panic attack in the gallery.

What makes a $10,000 meal?

Photo Courtesy of Food Network. Warrenton native Ryan Ross sliced and sauteed her way to victory on the cooking competition, Chopped. If somebody handed you ingredients like rice crackers and a green smoothie and told you to make dessert, what could you come up with? Could you come up with $10,000?

Bob Mosier defeats Charlie Ray Fox for office of Fauquier Sheriff

Bob Mosier and his wife Cindy hug at the news of Mosier's victory. - Photo by Doug Stroud For the first time in 12 years, Fauquier County has a new sheriff. Republican challenger Bob Mosier won a very close race against Charlie Ray Fox Jr. by about 600 votes.

Leaders meet to stop heroin

Alan Rasmussen, a prevention specialist for the Rappahannock-Rapidan Community Service Board, talks at a conference on heroin abuse last Thursday. Photo by Ian Chini. Heroin killed 239 Virginians last year. Two weeks ago, police, social workers and residents gathered in Culpeper to find out what to do about it.

Filmmaker shares work on streaming website

The folk tradition of storytelling is always evolving. From ancient oral traditions to streaming online video, timeless tales inevitably find new ways to stay relevant. Tom Davenport, filmmaker from Delaplane, has now put his classic set of award-winning fairy tale movies filmed in Fauquier County online for free.

Nokesville home destroyed, deputy hospitalized from fire Sunday

Smoke spills from the charred Nokesville home as hot-spots are extinguished by emergency crews. Photo credit Michael Melkonian/Fauquier Times Staff Photo Flames destroyed a Nokesville home and sent one sheriff's deputy to the hospital Sunday afternoon. The house at 3546 Ringwood Road was fully involved by the time emergency crews arrived on the scene just after noon.

Warrenton man guilty of sex crimes against minors

Justin Richard Britton, 43, of Warrenton was convicted Thursday of four counts of sex crimes against children including object sexual penetration of a 9-year-old girl which carries a mandatory minimum of life in prison. The three other charges of taking indecent liberties with a child by a person in a custodial or supervisory relationship were from three different incidents involving a 13-year-old girl.

Rebel flagger marches from Alabama to D.C.

Johnny Cooper marches to D.C. with his flag over his shoulder. Photo credit Michael Melkonian/Fauquier Times staff photo. Passing tractor trailers blast their monstrous horns and just-awake commuters race to work along the southbound lanes of US 29, just north of the eastern bypass in Warrenton Tuesday morning.

Firefighters favor teens in Fauquier's volunteer force

Firefighter Adam Glaze poses with other Marshall volunteer firefighters on the night he returned home from the hospital. Photo Credit Randy Litzinger / Fauquier Times. In the days following last week's story about a teen firefighter badly burned in a battle with a house fire in The Plains, social media erupted in a debate about his age.

Virginia Commonwealth University, 2013 to 2015

The Kojo Nnamdi Show
McDonnell Sentencing - The Kojo Nnamdi Show

I took photos of this event with VCU's Capital News Service. This photo in particular was published extensively in print and online through CNS's distribution service -- especially as the political corruption story spread to national news outlets.

Gillespie calls for debt relief, jobs for college graduates

RICHMOND, Va. - Republican senatorial candidate Ed Gillespie wants to ease the debt burden on college graduates by pushing an income-based payment system if elected on November 4. In an interview with VCU's "iPadJournos" project, Gillespie supported his democratic opponent's debt relief plan, but also pushed for a stronger focus on providing jobs for graduates to be able to manage their debt.