Man who set deputy on fire sentenced to 16 years in prison

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RAVENNA, Ohio (WJW) — A Portage County judge has sentenced 49-year-old Jay Brannon to 16 years in prison after he pleaded guilty to attempted aggravated murder and aggravated arson in an attack that seriously injured Portage County Sheriff’s deputy James Acklin.

Brannon will serve 11 years for the attempted aggravated murder charge and five years for the aggravated arson charge consecutively. After serving his sentence, the judge ruled he will be supervised by a parole officer for five years.

Many of Sgt. Acklin’s colleagues were in court Monday in a show of support.

Authorities were attempting to serve felony warrants on Brannon in Rootstown in February 2019 when it happened.

A press release stated Brannon ignited a can of flammable liquid and “proceeded to make threats that he was going to, ‘Kill the cops.'”

He threw the ignited can of liquid at officers, striking Sgt. Acklin, according to the sheriff’s office.

Sgt. Acklin was burned over 20% of his body.

Acklin was present in court Monday but did not speak. A colleague read a statement on his behalf  and also on the behalf of his daughters.

His wife, Josee Riedel-Acklin spoke, recounting the healing journey her husband has had to undergo.

Brannon spoke as well expressing regret and apologies to Acklin and the other officers involved.

Continuing coverage.

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