Joe P. Asher
A Harlan County man was convicted in Harlan Circuit Court on Tuesday for charges stemming from an altercation with Kentucky State Police troopers last year.
Special Judge James Bowling presided over the trial of Lee Roy Helton, 66, who was indicted on charges stemming from an incident that occurred on Feb. 17, 2011.
The indictment stated Helton intentionally attempted to cause physical harm to Kentucky State Police troopers Jared Boggs and James Earl Hensley when they arrested him after a traffic stop.
According to the citation, Boggs was dispatched to the scene where Helton was allegedly involved in a domestic complaint with his child’s mother.
“On the way to the complaint I passed this vehicle and conducted a traffic stop,” reads the citation. “Upon stopping the vehicle the driver got out of the vehicle and charged my (Boggs’) cruiser.”
The citation stated Helton then attempted to strike Boggs, but Boggs moved out of the way. Boggs then drew his taser and advised Helton he was under arrest and ordered him to put his hands behind his back. When Helton refused to do so, Boggs deployed his taser. Helton also kicked Hensley during the incident, the indictment said.
A grand jury handed down a four-count indictment against Helton on May 7. The indictment charges Helton with two counts of third-degree assault, resisting arrest and menacing.
Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Jason Jackson handled the case for the state, with Helton being represented by Daniel Schulman and Laura Karem of the Public Defender’s Office.
Helton testified that he could not have committed the assault due to health issues, including carpal tunnel syndrome which prevented him from making a fist.
Jackson pointed out during cross examination that Helton had actually made a fist during his testimony. Helton responded that making a fist caused him extreme pain.
At one point, Bowling asked Helton about photos that were submitted as evidence. There was a question of manipulation. Bowling inquired how the alleged injury marks looked the same on both sides of his body. Helton stated that the injury marks were real.
Schulman noted in his closing argument that Helton was not an imposing figure and would be unable to instill fear in the troopers.
“I can imagine them (Boggs and Hensley) being afraid for their safety against a hulk, but Mr. Helton,” Shulman asked the jury.
Schulman also stated the troopers had tased Helton and delivered “closed fist strikes” to Helton.
“There is only one conclusion,” said Schulman. “Not guilty.”
Jackson then concluded his case, stating that Helton’s age and health were not an issue when it comes to judging how dangerous he may or may not be.
“A 90-year old man can have a gun in his pants,” Jackson told the jury.
“We’ve proved beyond a reasonable doubt Mr. Helton is guilty of these charges,” said Jackson.
The jury spent approximately an hour and a half deliberating the case, returning with the guilty verdict.
The jury returned verdicts of guilty on one count of third-degree assault, menacing and resisting arrest.
On the misdemeanors, Helton will be sentenced to 90 days in jail and a $250 fine on the menacing charge, and three months in jail and a $500 fine on the charge of resisting arrest.
The jury recommended one year in prison on the felony assault conviction.
Bowling remanded Helton into custody, denying the defense’s request that Helton remain free until sentencing.
Bowling set sentencing for Nov. 1.
Reach Joe P. Asher at 606-573-4510 or email@example.com