An Irvona woman who bit a DuBois City Police officer was sentenced to jail by Judge Paul Cherry yesterday at sentencing court.
According to the affidavit of probable cause, on March 13, 2019, Ashlee Marie Bennett, 23, was taken into custody by two police officers of the DuBois City Police Department for an arrest warrant.
When she was being escorted to Magisterial District Judge Pat Ford’s office, Bennett began to struggle. One of the officers placed his hand on the wall to brace himself when Bennett bit him on the forearm.
The bite caused red marks but did not break the skin.
Bennett pleaded guilty to simple assault, a misdemeanor of the second degree. It was an open plea meaning the commonwealth and the defense could not agree on a minimum sentence.
Cherry asked Deputy District Attorney Trudy Lumadue why the original charge of aggravated assault, a felony of the second degree, was reduced to simple assault. Lumadue said the commonwealth and the police officer who was the victim believe the incident was related to a mental health issue and the officer agreed that the charge should be reduced to a misdemeanor simple assault.
Police officers, teachers, corrections officers, etc. are protected classes and if a defendant commits an assault on a person in a protected class that causes bodily injury, the defendant could be charged with felony aggravated assault.
Bennett’s attorney, Jendi Schwab of the public defender’s office, said her client has gone through intensive therapy since the event and hasn’t been in trouble since and asked Cherry to not sentence her to jail.
Cherry sentenced Bennett to serve 10 days to one year in the Clearfield County Jail plus one year consecutive probation. He also fined her $250 and prohibited her from possessing or consuming alcohol or controlled substances without prior permission from the probation department and is prohibited from entering any bars. He also ordered her to undergo anger management counseling.