Published DateLACONIA — A local man who allegedly hit a city police officer in the face and broke his nose during an arrest in September of 2012 has agreed with the county prosecutor to plead guilty and serve a minimum of 1 1/2 years in jail.
The capped plea agreement reached yesterday between Stephen Johnstone, 21, of 21 Fair St. and the Belknap County Attorney's Office has not been accepted yet by a judge.
Johnstone is charged with one felony count of second degree assault and one count of felony-level resisting arrest.
According to police affidavits, Johnstone and his friend Abdul Kamara, 21, of 4 Hill St. were passengers in a car whose driver was stopped by city police at 1:50 a.m. on September 21 on Endicott Street North for suspicion of driving while intoxicated.
The driver, Scott Batchelder Jr., 29, of Kelley Pond Road in New Hampton, was transported to the Laconia Police Department while two other police officers stayed with Johnstone and Kamara in order to do an inventory search of Batchelder's car before it was impounded and towed.
One officer was inventorying the car while a supervisor stood to the side with Johnstone and Kamara. Police said all three men were intoxicated and during the search Johnstone and Kamara bgane yelling and became verbally abusive to the supervisor.
When neither man would calm down, affidavits said officers decided to take the two into protective custody. When one officer went to put handcuffs on Kamara, Johnstone allegedly yelled "no" and pushed him away. When the officer went to take him to the ground, Johnstone pulled back and struck him below his left eye, breaking his nose.
After a brief struggle, Johnstone was zapped with an electric stun gun, stopped struggling, and was placed into custody.
Last week, Kamara was convicted by a jury of two counts of criminal threatening. The same jury found him not guilty of criminal mischief. He will be sentenced early next month.
Johnstone has tacitly agreed to serve a sentence of 1 1/2 years to 5 year in prison with credit for time served for the second-degree assault and a 2-to-5 year sentence — suspended — for the felony resisting arrest.
Within 60 days a Belknap County Superior Court judge will schedule a hearing and determine if he or she will accept the plea agreement or bind the case over for trial.