NEWPORT, KY (FOX19) - A Campbell County jury has found a man guilty of assaulting a Newport Police officer last July.
Duane Cranmo, 27, was among the crowd outside the Funny Bone comedy club in the early morning hours of July 5, 2011.
Prosecutors say Cranmo was with the crowd of about 30 people that had gotten disorderly and been asked to leave. Denise Trauth, who tried the case on behalf of the Commonwealth, told the jury that when police tried to take Cranmo into custody for disorderly conduct, he resisted and threw several elbows directly at Corporal Larry Long with Newport Police.
Defense attorney Jim Kidney argued that Cranmo was following orders to leave, and did not resist arrest. He said a "pile" of Newport Police Officers went beyond what was necessary to take him into custody.
The jury sided with the Commonwealth and found Cranmo guilty of one count of 3rd degree assault, which is a felony, and disorderly conduct and resisting arrest, which are both misdemeanors. Because of prior convictions, Cranmo was sentenced to serve 11 years in prison, a sentence which devastated Cranmo's family and friends who stayed throughout the trial to support him.
Jamie Sigmon, who has a child with Cranmo, told FOX19 that Cranmo was offered a plea deal but turned it down because he did not want to admit to something he didn't do.
"He is not a violent person," said Sigmon.
Cranmo has three prior felony arrests, though all were nonviolent, and he testified that for the last three years he has been holding down a job and providing for his family.
His mother, Mary Elizabeth Cranmo, asked the jury, through tears, to grant her son some mercy and let him go home to raise his family.
Fellow Newport Police officers of Corporal Larry Long testified on Long's behalf, saying the crowd that night was growing increasingly loud and threatening, and that Cranmo was inciting the people around him to turn on the police, an assertion the defense denied. Corp. Long testified that he ordered fellow officers to place Cranmo under arrest for disorderly conduct, and he was following Cranmo as the crowd was exiting the Riverwalk level of the Levee. Corp. Long told the jury he grabbed Cranmo from behind, in order to place him under arrest, and that's when Cranmo turned around, saw Corp. Long was the one grabbing him, and threw his elbow into the officers jaw repeatedly.
"We very much respect the jury's decision," said Trauth. "I think it is important to have this law that protects our police officers who are everyday risking their lives and their safety."
After Cranmo was taken into custody following the trial, his girlfriend told FOX19, "I don't know what I'm going to do now. I don't know what I'm going to tell the kids."