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Local News

Judge doubles prison time for man who tried to run over Scott deputy

January 8th, 2013 11:21 pm by Wes Bunch

GATE CITY — A Kingsport man who attempted to run over a sheriff’s deputy with his truck was ordered to serve double the amount of prison time recommended by the state during an appearance Monday in Scott County Circuit Court.

Justin Luke Ketron, 33, of Kingsport, was given a four-year prison sentence by 30th Circuit Judge John Kilgore as a result of pleading guilty late last year to attempted malicious wounding of a police officer. The charge against Ketron resulted from a January 2012 incident in which he attempted to run over a Scott County sheriff’s deputy during a roadside stop.

Kilgore ordered Ketron to serve a minimum two-year sentence and at least 85 percent of the remaining two years of his incarceration.

Sentencing guidelines had called for Ketron to receive a mid-point sentence of two years, the Scott County Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office said.

Assistant Scott County Commonwealth’s Attorney Dan Fellhauer said he was pleased the judge decided to exceed the guidelines, which the attorney’s office felt were “surprisingly low” given the nature of the crime.

“The sentencing guidelines on this, in our opinion, were very low considering what he did,” Fellhauer said. “He put his life in danger, as well as an officer’s life in danger. I think the judge agreed in the sense that he double the recommended two-year sentence.

“We take all crimes seriously, but there’s no excuse for putting an officer’s life in danger when he’s just trying to do his job.”

Fellhauer said he also felt Ketron’s prior criminal offenses factored into the sentence handed down by Kilgore.

“You can also see from (Ketron’s) criminal history that he has no respect for law enforcement. He had three or four convictions for resisting arrest since 1999,” Fellhauer said. “So he hadn’t learned his lesson, and he didn’t respect law enforcement that day, and he’s got a pattern of doing that.”

Ketron has been in custody since February 2012, when he was arrested following a nearly weeklong search by authorities in Virginia and Tennessee.

According to police reports, the incident occurred on Jan. 27 when a Scott County Sheriff’s Office deputy noticed a truck matching the description of one involved in the theft of heating units from local churches that was parked on the side of the road in East Carters Valley.

While investigating, the officer noticed Ketron in a field beside the road and asked him to come toward the vehicle.

While being questioned, Ketron reportedly jumped into his Ford F-150 and drove straight at the deputy, who fired a single gunshot through the truck’s window.

Ketron then reportedly drove across the state line into Tennessee.

Ketron argued in his defense that he was scared and did not deliberately try to run over the officer or hurt him.

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