OWLS HEAD, Maine — A 41-year-old Owls Head man accused of trying to pull a knife and a loaded gun on an officer was sentenced Tuesday to 18 months in prison.
“The officer showed remarkable restraint,” Justice William Stokes said as he sentenced Ronald Harding Jr. to five years in prison with all but the 18 months suspended. Harding also was ordered to serve probation for two years upon his release on the charges of criminal threatening with a dangerous weapon, possession of a firearm by a felon, aggravated criminal mischief and refusing to submit to arrest.
Stokes said the incident easily could have led to the Knox County deputy using deadly force to subdue Harding during the altercation in April 2015 in Owls Head.
Assistant District Attorney Jeffrey Baroody had asked that Harding serve two years in prison.
“Anytime anyone runs from an officer and tries to pull a knife or gun, it doesn’t get much worse than that,” Baroody said.
The Knox County deputy, Jeremy Joslyn, suffered a minor injury when he subdued Harding, according to court records.
Defense attorney William Pagnano told the judge that his client suffers from numerous physical and mental health issues, and asked that Harding be sentenced to the 10 months he already has served at the Knox County Jail.
Joslyn had gone to arrest Harding on an outstanding criminal mischief warrant early the evening of Wednesday, April 8, when the incident occurred. As the deputy approached Harding, who had been sitting in the driver’s seat of a pickup truck in the driveway, the suspect got out of the truck and ran for his house in an attempt to evade arrest.
Police said Josyln was able to tackle Harding just as he was entering the residence. A scuffle ensued as Harding refused to submit to arrest. During the tussle, Josyln noticed Harding trying to get a dagger out of his jacket sleeve, according to police. Joslyn disarmed Harding of the knife.
At that point, Harding pulled a pistol from his side, the deputy reported. Josyln also was able to get the pistol away from Harding, but the suspect continued to struggle and reach for the weapon, according to documents filed with the court. The deputy, however, managed to hold Harding away from the gun until Deputy Paul Spear arrived to assist.
Harding continued to resist arrest while the two deputies were handcuffing him, but he eventually was restrained.
The deputies determined that the .40-caliber pistol was loaded. They also reported finding on Harding an electronic stun device, a steel baton and several other knives.
During the scuffle, Joslyn suffered an injury to his hand. He was treated at and released from Pen Bay Medical Center in Rockport.
Harding also was found guilty of aggravated criminal mischief for shooting a BB gun at his neighbor’s house, causing $6,576 in damages to windows and vinyl siding.
The neighbor had provided the sheriff’s office with a video that showed Harding shooting at the house from his pickup truck, according to court records. Joslyn was attempting to serve Harding with an arrest warrant on that charge the evening the scuffle occurred.