James Guy Arnold guilty of assaulting guard

January 29, 2002

James Guy Arnold guilty of assaulting guard


An inmate acting as his own attorney failed to convince a jury of 10 women and two men that he didn't initiate a fight with a correctional officer during a trial at Washington County Circuit Court Monday.

Judge John H. McDowell sentenced James Guy Arnold, 30, of Martinsburg, W.Va., to five years at the Department of Corrections for second-degree assault.

"You are a danger to society," said McDowell, who said he based his decision on Arnold's prior convictions and lack of remorse.

Prison hasn't corrected Arnold's criminal bent, McDowell said.

Washington County Detention Center Deputy Joshua Jarrell testified that he was delivering food to inmates when he encountered Arnold.

"He was excited and agitated," Jarrell said.

Arnold said another guard slammed a door in his face and that constituted an assault - because of that he had the right to assault that guard, Jarrell testified.


"He said 'Do you have a problem with me, too? Then take your badge and radio off and let's see how bad you are,'" Jarrell said Arnold told him.

Jarrell said Arnold raised his hands in an aggressive manner, so he put him in a bear hug.

While struggling, the two men fell over a table and then to the ground before help came about 20 minutes later, he said.

Jarrell said he took some swings at Arnold and had to protect the pepper spray attached to his belt, since he would be incapacitated if Arnold sprayed him with it.

Wearing a brace on his right elbow, Jarrell said he has lasting injuries resulting from the incident.

During Jarrell's testimony, Arnold shuffled papers and slouched in his seat.

He turned back to smile at the gallery at one point.

Arnold, who was serving time at the Detention Center for theft at the time of the incident, testified that he was angry that another deputy slammed a door in his face on Aug. 17, 2001. He said he told Jarrell about the incident and that he wanted to speak to a shift commander.

Arnold testified he was just repeating the statement he'd made to the other deputy and didn't intend to fight Jarrell.

He said he was not the aggressor in the incident and stood still while Jarrell assaulted him.

Arnold's case was prosecuted by Assistant Washington County State's Attorney Robert Veil.

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