U.S. Marshals: Harboring a fugitive is now a felony

Updated: Jan. 20, 2017 at 5:01 PM EST
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Police are searching for Rakei Stokes for the attempted capital murder of Officer William King....
Police are searching for Rakei Stokes for the attempted capital murder of Officer William King. (Source: Emporia Police)

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - U.S. Marshals are sending out a warning: if you harbor a fugitive, you will be held accountable.

The warning comes after Kenneth Chambliss of Emporia plead guilty on Friday to the new felony statute. Chambliss was sentenced to five years, with five years suspended, after he rented a room at the Diamond Inn & Suites in Richmond to help hide wanted fugitive Rakei Dwayne Stokes.

"By holding people accountable for concealing wanted fugitives, they now know they can be charged criminally," said Bobby Mathieson, United States Marshal for the Eastern District of Virginia. "It is our hope that this case will serve as a deterrent. Swift justice for victims is what we all strive for."

Investigators say Stokes shot a Virginia Police Officer in Emporia on Dec. 6 and was on the run. Stokes was arrested at the motel after a brief standoff on Dec. 13.

U.S. Marshals say the officer survived the shooting and is doing well.

Marshals arrested Chambliss on June 2 and charged him with Felony Accessory After the Fact.

"The U.S. Marshals Service would like to issue a warning to those who would harbor a fugitive in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Don't do it," said Kevin Connolly, supervisor for the U.S. Marshals Regional Fugitive Task Force in Richmond. "If you do, you may end up with a felony conviction and up to five years in the Virginia Department of Corrections. And a warning to those who would lie to U.S. Marshals and Special Deputy U.S. Marshals during the course of their fugitive investigations. False Statements to a Federal Officer is punishable by up to five years in the Federal Bureau of Prisons."

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