Inmate arrested after assaulting judge
Searcy County inmate Nicklous Pettry, age 25, of Marshall was arrested while in court on February 14 after he spit in the face of a Searcy County Circuit Judge.
According to Searcy County Sheriff Kenny Cassell, during the court proceedings, Pettry and his attorney were asked to stand before the Judge. While standing before the judge, Pettry spit in the judge's face, refused court directives and began cussing and being disorderly.
At this point, Chief Pierce escorted Pettry from the courtroom and back to a hallway where Pettry could be transported to the Searcy County Detention Center. After entering the hallway, Pierce asked Pettry to face the wall to reposition his handcuffs, when Pettry turned his body and attempted to grab Pierce's neck with both hands. While forcing Pettry into the wall, other officers who had entered the hallway began assisting with Pettry who was struggling violently and trying to fight officers. After a few moments, Pettry was subdued and returned to the Searcy County Detention Center. Injuries to an officer were sustained, which required medical treatment.
Pettry was charged with 2nd degree battery/injury to an officer in the line of duty, Class A felony; obstructing governmental operations, Class A misdemeanor; and interference with a law enforcement officer, Class A misdemeanor. Pettry also received 120 days on four counts of contempt of court.
On February 25, Pettry was returned to Searcy County District Court for a first appearance of felony charges. Prior to the court proceedings, Searcy County Sheriff Kenny Cassell, Detention Officer Blake Kelly and Detention Officer Jonathan Baysinger were in the process of placing a "spit mask" on Pettry since he spit in the judge's face during his last court appearance.
While in the hallway, the mask was placed on Pettry but he began resisting officers and managed to remove the mask. Once the mask was off, Pettry spit in the face of Sheriff Cassell and Officer Baysinger, which is a violation of Arkansas Code Aggravated Assault 5-13-211, a Class D Felony.
During the struggle, Cassell was forced to "drive stun" Pettry with a taser in an attempt to bring Pettry under control. After being tased, Pettry stopped resisting and was escorted out of the courtroom and back to the Searcy County Detention Center.
Pettry was charged with two counts of felony aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer and correctional facility employee.
Pettry has been incarcerated in the Searcy County Detention Center since November 22, 2019 on a second degree battery charge.
He awaits a first appearance.