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Virginia man gets 15 years in prison on assault charges

A man from Front Royal is now paying the price after attacking three police officers in July 2012. He faces bodily injury and assault and battery charges for the incident. He was also originally charged with attempted murder for seriously injuring one of the officers, but that charge was dropped under a plea deal. His punishment will include 15 years in prison and up to 10 years of supervised probation. After that, he will face unsupervised probation for the rest of his life.

The 35-year-old man was allegedly drunk in public and exposing himself to others when police arrived on the scene. One of the police officers was charged by the man and punched in the head. The man then knocked the officer to the ground, grabbed his baton and beat him with it. The man also hit the officer's head to the ground and scratched at his eyes.

A detective came to the officer's aid and helped by a bystander, was able to constrain the man. The detective received minor injuries in the brawl. A few months later, the man then punched another deputy in the face while in jail.

The man was psychologically evaluated and believed to have some sort of mental disorder similar to bipolar disorder or schizophrenia. The man was actually taking medication before the incident, but he stopped and then started drinking. The man's previous mental health evaluations showed a correlation between alcohol and trouble with the law.

Is prison the right punishment for a mentally ill man? He likely will not receive the help he needs to become a productive member of society once he is released. He may inflict serious bodily harm again. Next time he may end up killing someone.

Battery charges are serious offenses and require a strong legal defense to fight such charges. In this case, the man's mental illness may have been a large contributor in his actions, and that may have been used to build a strong defense. If there was proof that his illness could be controlled by medicine, that may also have a played a part in his defense. Attorneys look at all angles when preparing for this type of case.

Source: Northern Virginia Daily, "Front Royal man gets 15 years for injuring police in brawls" Joe Beck, Jan. 28, 2014

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