Scott Hook took over as interim commonwealth’s attorney for Fauquier County on July 1. He said his first act was to request the appointment of a special prosecutor in the still-active investigation of the 2012 death of reporter Sarah Greenhalgh.
As a private attorney, Hook represented a man who was investigated in connection with Greenhalgh’s death. “I really felt it was important to get a special prosecutor and be as transparent as possible,” Hook said.
Greenhalgh had worked for numerous media outlets in the region, including the then Fauquier Times-Democrat. On July 9, 2012, she was found shot in her rental home in Upperville, which had been burned down around her.
Paul Walther, now Culpeper County commonwealth’s attorney, is the special prosecutor. He was with the Fauquier County commonwealth’s attorney’s office at the time of Greenhalgh’s death.
Hook said he’ll also be meeting with sheriff’s office staff to get up to speed on the investigation into the killings of a father and son in Bealeton last November.
Duong and America Nguyen were found shot to death inside their home. The FBI and Fauquier County Sheriff’s Office last month announced a $20,000 reward for information leading to an arrest.
Just two weeks in
At lunchtime on July 11, Scott Hook’s office was mostly bare. There were a couple of chairs and a portable table for his computer keyboard, but the walls were still empty. He had been assured that his desk was arriving that afternoon.
As commonwealth’s attorney, he and his staff prosecute cases in the Fauquier circuit and general district court. He has a staff of 15, including eight attorneys. Hook will be handling cases in court.
“I spent part of the day yesterday in General District Court. I think it’s important that people see their commonwealth’s attorney in court,” Hook said.
Hook said he doesn’t see hiring additional staff in his office but he is considering assigning a specialty to each attorney, who would work on cases in that specialty area.
Hook said he’s also like to institute “open file discovery,” which would allow defense attorneys access to case information without having to petition for it.
Hook, who turns 43 in August, was in private practice in Warrenton, running a solo practice from an office on South 3rd Street. Before that he was an attorney in the law office of Mark B. Williams & Associates for nine years. He was Warrenton’s town prosecutor from 2006 to 2008.
He was appointed by the judges of the 20th Circuit Court to succeed James Fisher, who left his term six months early to fill a vacancy on the 20th Circuit. That court hears cases in Fauquier, Loudoun and Rappahannock counties. Fisher was commonwealth attorney since 2011.
Hook closed down his practice when he took over as interim commonwealth’s attorney.
“I really miss my clients, the good ones, the bad ones and everybody in between,” he said. “It’s a different kind of busy,” Hook said of his work life now as a prosecutor. “At this point I’m trying to learn the office and learn the people. Everybody has been very helpful.”
Hook grew up in New Baltimore. He’s been married for 21 years and he and his wife have three children ages 8, 6 and 4. His law degree is from Seton Hall University in New Jersey.
The interim commonwealth’s attorney stands to become an elected commonwealth’s attorney this November. Barring a surprise write-in campaign from a surprise candidate, Hook will be in office for another four years since he’s the only candidate on the ballot.
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