Man gets 10-year sentence for assaulting deputy
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.