Tuesday, October 31, 2000

Ex-policeman sentenced

He says job stress led to incident with weapon

By Susan Vela
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        NEWPORT — A former undercover cop wept in court Mondaybefore being sentenced to four months of home incarceration for pointing a loaded semiautomatic rifle at three police officers last spring.

        They had responded to a domestic violence call at his Dayton, Ky., home.

        Former Newport Police Sgt. James Brian Henley, 37, pleaded guilty earlier this year to wanton endangerment and assault charges stemming from the incident. At Monday's hearing, he said that his desire to escape undercover work caused the blow-up. He had been doing undercover work for three years.

        “I couldn't get out. I didn't know what to do. I don't want to go to jail,” he said.

        Mr. Henley's successful 11-year law enforcement career is over. He officially resigned from the Newport Police Department in July. He is awaiting state approval to collect disability for his mental problems.

        At Monday's sentencing, Campbell Circuit Judge William Wehr said Mr. Henley would be able to leave his home for work and psychiatric appointments. Mr. Henley works on a loading dock for an area manufacturing company.

        Judge Wehr ordered him to collect a monitoring device later that day. He told Mr. Henley that if he gets into trouble within the next year, he would serve five years in prison.

        Judge Wehr said the home incarceration sentence could be altered, depending on whether Mr. Henley ultimately gets disa bility.

        Mr. Henley and his wife seemed happy with the sentence. The couple embraced after Monday's sentencing.

        Assistant Commonwealth Attorneys Jack Porter and Dick Slukich had spoken on Mr. Henley's behalf. They touted his intensity, professionalism and aggression in arresting felons.

        Kurt Kruthoffer of the state Attorney General's Office established, though, that the men knew Mr. Henley only in a professional sense. He asked the judge to consider that Mr. Henley had been smoking marijuana in the weeks before the March incident, and he had hit his wife and pointed a loaded gun at the officers who came to his house.

        “This comes down to a matter of choices,” Mr. Kruthoffer said. “These are things he chose to do.”


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