Former W&M football player jailed after ‘veiled threat’ in drug case

A former William & Mary football player who previously pleaded guilty to drug possession and had two additional drug distribution charges dropped was jailed Wednesday for more than a month over a “veiled threat” to an undercover informant.

Spencer Kleinrichert, 21, who played 11 games for the Tribe and started two in the 2015 season as a redshirt freshman but was not listed on the 2016 or 2017 football rosters, was in Williamsburg-James City County Circuit Court for sentencing when prosecutors revealed the text message to the court.

Judge Michael E. McGinty read part of the threat, which prosecutors said was sent earlier Wednesday morning to the undercover informant, which said, “I hope to see you again someday.”

Prosecutor Joshua DeFord said that despite the positive pre-sentencing report, the text message “is indicative of his character.” McGinty said the text “gives this court pause about giving you this opportunity” and added that it comes out in the text “that he’s a victim somehow.”

Kleinrichert had entered into a plea agreement Dec. 15; it dropped two marijuana distribution charges in exchange for a guilty plea on a third marijuana distribution charge, according to court documents. At that time, all parties agreed to withhold any finding of guilt pending the pre-sentence report.

A judge that day said that “there are sufficient facts that would justify a finding of guilty, and pursuant to the plea agreement, withholds a finding” in the case.

Court documents also stated that Kleinrichert’s defense attorney, Patrick Kelley, could argue for a misdemeanor distribution of marijuana, and prosecutors could argue in favor of a felony conviction of marijuana distribution. However, McGinty is not bound by the plea agreement.

A grand jury indicted Kleinrichert Sept. 21, 2016. Court documents state that “on or about April 25, 2016 through April 30, 2016,
(Kleinrichert) did sell, give, or distribute more than one-half ounce but less than five pounds of marijuana.”

The Commonwealth of Virginia’s Department of Forensic Science analyzed three different samples of marijuana, finding two of them just shy of an ounce, and another at about three-quarters of an ounce.

McGinty delayed the sentencing on the drug charge and continued the case until March 21, 2018 at 9 a.m., but said, “I feel there should be an immediate consequence, and ordered Kleinrichert sent to the Virginia Peninsula Regional Jail until May 5.

Kelley said Kleinrichert was embarrassed by the text message, and looked forward to a chance to continue at William & Mary if the charge was reduced to a misdemeanor.

Kleinrichert addressed the court about his last-minute text. 

“I just want the court to know that I’m extremely sorry for what I’ve done,” Kleinrichert said. “I’m extremely disappointed in myself.”

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