CLEARFIELD – After a two-day trial in Clearfield County Court, a jury took almost two hours Wednesday to find Duncansville man guilty of assaulting a state trooper.
Jonathan M. Chirdon, 40, will be sentenced within 60 days on two counts each of aggravated assault and simple assault for his actions on March 29, 2020.
District Attorney Ryan Sayers noted that the standard minimum for aggravated assault is three to 12-months incarceration.
The trial also covered a second case for which Chirdon was charged with three counts of aggravated assault, four counts of simple assault and recklessly endangering another person for assaulting a Gulich Township woman earlier that same night.
The jury was unable to reach a verdict on any of these charges leading this case to be declared a mistrial by President Judge Fredric J. Ammerman.
Sayers said he will speak with the jurors to determine why they couldn’t agree before he decides whether to prosecute that case again.
According to the affidavit in the initial case, a woman called for help because Chirdon, who was intoxicated, was refusing to leave her home and threatened her with a hunting style knife, putting it to her throat.
He reportedly would not allow her to call her husband and said if she called the cops, he would tell them that she tried to hurt herself.
She told police he put the knife to her neck “multiple times” and she also cut her hand during their confrontation.
At one point, she was able to lock her self in a room and call 911.
When police arrived on the scene, several other people had already removed Chirdon from the home and held him outside.
The trooper noted that when he saw the victim, she had long, thin, red markings and cuts to her throat and face.
It was during the transport of Chirdon to the county jail that the incident with another trooper occurred.
According to that affidavit, while handcuffed, Chirdon was able to remove his seatbelt and was moving around in the back seat of the police car. The trooper who was driving pulled into a convenience store lot to secure him.
Two additional troopers arrived to assist him and put Chirdon into their two-man vehicle.
But he refused to put his legs into the back seat of the second vehicle and they had to struggle to get him in the car.
As they tried to put a seatbelt on him, Chirdon headbutted one of the troopers in the face and then lunged toward him again. The trooper was able to block him this time and held him back as they secured the seatbelt.
The officer suffered a contusion to his lip and a tear of his upper frenulum.
During the trial, a video of the events in the car was shown to the jury in which Chirdon was combative and used expletives when addressing the arresting trooper.
In his closing arguments, defense attorney Ralph Forr Jr., referred to inconsistencies in the woman’s testimony regarding where the knife came from and questioned whether she had injured herself while threatening to commit suicide.
He suggested that Chirdon didn’t want to leave the residence because he had been drinking and didn’t want to get caught driving under the influence.
As for his behavior in the police car, Forr noted that “he was a jerk on the way” but that didn’t mean he had committed aggravated assault.
Sayers in his closing addressed comments Forr made about the victim not sounding frightened in the 911 call by noting that the first man who arrived at the residence to assist the victim found her curled up in the fetal position. She told him to get Chirdon out because he was going to kill her.
In the second assault case, Sayers stated that the trooper’s injury, the severing of the flesh of his upper lip, took from two to three weeks to heal.