Man gets 10-year sen­tence for as­sault­ing deputy

The Saline Courier - - FRONT PAGE - Spe­cial to The Saline Courier

A Bryant man re­cently re­ceived a 10-year sen­tence after plead­ing guilty to charges of bat­tery, ag­gra­vated as­sault, es­cape and re­sist­ing ar­rest.

Saline County Cir­cuit Court Judge Gary Arnold ac­cepted the state’s rec­om­men­da­tion and sen­tenced James T. Pet­tus, 41, to five years in prison fol­lowed by a five-year sus­pended im­po­si­tion of sen­tence.

On May 19, 2019, Sergeant Michael Bowden with the Saline County Sher­iff’s De­part­ment con­ducted a traf­fic stop on the ve­hi­cle Pet­tus was driv­ing. After Bowden was un­able to con­firm Pet­tus’ iden­tity based on the doc­u­ments Pet­tus gave him, Bowden then asked Pet­tus to step out of his ve­hi­cle. Bowden was at­tempt­ing to place Pet­tus in hand­cuffs and ex­plain why he was be­ing de­tained when a strug­gle en­sued which led to Bowden de­ploy­ing his taser. The taser was in­ef­fec­tive as Pet­tus man­aged to get to his ve­hi­cle with the taser and one hand­cuff at­tached. Bowden was try­ing to stop Pet­tus from leav­ing and Pet­tus kicked Bowden in the chest and took off with Bowden’s hand trapped in the door. Bowden was dragged at least six to 10 feet be­fore be­ing freed. He suf­fered a hair­line frac­ture in his hand, bruised ten­dons and bruised mus­cles, ac­cord­ing to Saline County Pros­e­cut­ing At­tor­ney Chris Wal­ton.

A man­hunt en­sued which led to Pet­tus’ cap­ture the next day. Pet­tus still had the taser leads and hand­cuff at­tached to his body. At the sen­tenc­ing, Pet­tus wanted Bowden to know that he was sorry for be­hav­ing the way he did.

Wal­ton com­mended the Saline County Sher­iff’s Of­fice along with the other agen­cies who par­tic­i­pated in the man­hunt that brought

Pet­tus to jus­tice.

“Of­fi­cers risk their lives daily to en­sure the pro­tec­tion of our ci­ti­zens. We are very thank­ful that Sgt. Bowden re­cov­ered from a sit­u­a­tion that could have turned out so much worse. As a so­ci­ety we can­not tol­er­ate vi­o­lence to­ward our men and women in law en­force­ment. And let it be known that if you hurt an of­fi­cer in Saline County, our of­fice will hold you ac­count­able,” Wal­ton said.

Jonathan Camp served as Pet­tus’ le­gal coun­sel and the state was rep­re­sented by Deputy Pros­e­cut­ing At­tor­ney Car­rie Robert­son.

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