Perry man gets six years in prison for pointing weapons at police

bpurser@macon.comAugust 16, 2013 

Ronald Dean Bittner

WARNER ROBINS -- A Perry man was sentenced Friday to six years in prison for pointing two weapons at a police officer.

Judge Edward D. Lukemire also sentenced Ronald Dean Bittner to 14 years probation after prison.

A jury found Bittner, 51, guilty of aggravated assault and possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime Thursday. Jurors were unable to reach a verdict on a third charge of aggravated assault on a police officer, which the prosecution is expected to dismiss.

Two officers responded to a 911 call of celebratory gun fire July 4, 2012, at Timberwood Apartments at 710 Mason Terrace, where Bittner lived.

The prosecution contended Bittner pointed a handgun and a revolver at Perry police officer Nash Chapman, who was in his police uniform. The defense argued Bittner was responding to orders to put his hands up when he was shot and that officers never identified themselves as police.

Chapman, who the defense noted was in training to become an officer, fired five times but missed Bittner. Officer Armando Sanchez fired twice from his shotgun, with Bittner falling to the ground from the impact of being grazed by a shotgun blast.

Bittner, whose collarbone was grazed, was treated and released from the hospital a few hours later and taken to jail the next day.

Prosecutor Clif Woody said the sentence is appropriate based on the seriousness of the crime.

Robert Surrency, an assistant public defender who represented Bittner, felt differently.

“I just wonder if the jury realized the sentence would be this harsh?” he said.

To contact writer Becky Purser, call 256-9559.

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