WCH man admits to assaulting police officer

By Ashley Bunton - abunton@aimmediamidwest.com

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A man re-appeared in court Tuesday and admitted to assaulting a Washington Court House Police Department officer during a response to a call of a protection order violation.

Fifty-nine-year-old Joseph E. Lyons was taken from the Fayette County Jail to the Fayette County Court of Common Pleas last week to plead to felony charges of assault on a police officer and obstructing official business, but then told the court that the incident Sept. 22 wasn’t an assault. Judge Steven Beathard told Lyons last week that if the incident was not an assault, then he could not take a guilty plea and placed Lyons back into the Fayette County Jail.

Back in court Tuesday, Lyons plead guilty to three charges: assault, a fourth-degree felony, obstructing official business, a fifth-degree felony, and violation of a protection order, a misdemeanor of the fifth degree.

Due to Lyons’s prior felony conviction in 1981 for assault, Fayette County Assistant Prosecutor John Scott said a prison sentence is presumptive in the case but not mandatory.

After pleading guilty Tuesday, a sentencing hearing on the charges was scheduled for the docket Monday. Beathard told Lyons that when he returns for sentencing next week he may be placed in prison or he could be placed on community control.

Lyons punched a Washington Court House police officer in the throat Sept. 22 at 511 E. Temple St. when police were 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. He refused to stand, then stood up and pulled away from WPD patrolman Charles Hughes, swung, and punched Hughes in the throat area, according to reports.

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.

In court Tuesday, Beathard asked Lyons how it felt to be tased. Lyons said, “Not too good, it was a rush,” then told the judge he had used a taser on himself before and that it “gets your heart rate up.”

Also during Tuesday’s plea hearing, at the request of the state, the court moved to dismiss a second case filed against Lyons for domestic violence because the victim no longer wished to pursue the case, Scott said.

Lyons is being held in the Fayette County Jail until Monday’s sentencing hearing.

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By Ashley Bunton


Contact Ashley at (740) 313-0355 or connect on Twitter by searching Twitter.com for @ashbunton and sending a message.

Contact Ashley at (740) 313-0355 or connect on Twitter by searching Twitter.com for @ashbunton and sending a message.