A 59-year-old man who allegedly punched a Washington Court House police officer in the throat Sept. 22 appeared in court Monday, but said the incident wasn’t an assault.
Joseph E. Lyons, of Washington C.H., was transported from the Fayette County Jail Monday to appear on an assaulting a police officer charge in the Fayette County Court of Common Pleas.
The incident was reported to have occurred Sept. 22 at 511 E. Temple St. when the Washington Court House Police Department was dispatched to apartment 11 in reference to a protection order violation.
Officers reportedly located Lyons inside the apartment and advised him that he would be arrested in violation of the protection order, but he allegedly refused to stand and then stood up and pulled away from WPD patrolman Charles Hughes, swung, and punched Hughes in the throat area.
In court Monday, the hearing went on the record with the facts of the incident and that an agreement had been reached: Lyons would enter a guilty plea to three charges of assault on a police officer, fourth-degree felonies, and in exchange the state would dismiss a second case for domestic violence because the victim no longer wished to pursue the case.
A prison sentence is not mandatory in the case but is presumed, according to the court, but the state of Ohio recommended that Lyons be placed on community control for pleading guilty to the assault charges. He faces a maximum of one-and-a-half-years in prison, said Judge Steven Beathard.
As Beathard explained the terms of the plea and sentencing agreement, Lyons began to shake his head and said, “It wasn’t an assault.”
When a defendant expresses in any court of law that they are innocent, a judge then cannot take a guilty plea. Beathard refused to go forward with the hearing and said, “Well, what’s our trial date?”
Fayette County assistant prosecutor John Scott then reiterated the facts of the case in the reports. Beathard asked Lyons again if that is what had happened and Lyons said “yes.” Beathard ordered Lyons to be taken back to the jail — he’ll likely appear again in court next week to see if he’s ready to plea, according to the court.
Lyons has a prior felony from a 1981 conviction for felonious assault, according to the court.
Reports said during the Sept. 22 incident, the officers used pepper foam in an effort to gain complete compliance. Lyons continued to fight and once on the ground, refused to give up his right hand and place it behind his back, at which time an officer administered a taser to Lyons’s lower back, which had the desired effect, reports said.
He is being held in the Fayette County Jail on a $5,000 cash only bond.
Reach Ashley at (740) 313-0355 or connect on Twitter by searching Twitter.com for @ashbunton