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North Little Rock man guilty of battery, theft

He bit deputy, stole car in ’18 by John Lynch | November 23, 2022 at 4:00 a.m.
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A 55-year-old mentally ill North Little Rock man has accepted an eight-year prison sentence for biting a Pulaski County sheriff's deputy and stealing her patrol vehicle after an altercation with officers.

Sentencing papers filed on Monday show Jerry Dale York pleaded guilty to theft, second-degree battery and fleeing in exchange for the eight-year term imposed by Circuit Judge Karen Whatley. Further, York will serve a five-year suspended sentence once he's released from prison, conditioned on him receiving mental health and medical treatment.

York's encounter with deputies occurred in December 2018, about two weeks before Christmas, when officers were dispatched to York's home, 9513 MacArthur Drive, to investigate a series of 911 hang-up calls, court records show.

At the residence, deputies encountered a mumbling and incoherent York speaking into the phone, at one point stating he was surrounded by police. York was allowed to leave with 55-year-old Stephanie Michelle Gray of Mayflower, who had offered to remove him from the property.

Once York and Gray left in her gray Suzuki pickup, the 911 calls started again so deputies tracked down the truck, finding it on Crystal Hill Road and pulling it over. During the traffic stop, York continued to call 911 and became combative with deputies, punching and kicking officers. Deputies used an electric stun gun to subdue York but the weapon had no effect on him, according to court records. The report said York bit Deputy Nicole Pylant, noting that York later tested positive for Hepatitis C.

York managed to get into Pylant's patrol sport utility vehicle and drive away, leading to a pursuit that ended after York struck two other sheriff's vehicles.

York was charged with theft, two counts of criminal mischief, representing the damage done to the SUV and a police Dodge Charger during the pursuit, as well as three counts of second-degree battery involving deputies Rajesh Nayak, Timothy Praetor and Pylant, and an aggravated assault charge related to another deputy involved in York's apprehension, Austin McKinniss.

Under the conditions of his plea agreement, negotiated by deputy prosecutor Justin Brown and defense attorney John Wesley Hall, the criminal mischief charges, two of the battery counts and the aggravated assault charge were dropped in exchange for his guilty plea.

Felony charges of second-degree battery and criminal mischief, charges stemming from York's June 2017 arrest by Sherwood police, were also dropped following his guilty plea.

Court records show York has been diagnosed with schizophrenia with a long history of drug abuse. The sentence is the sixth time York, who has convictions related to drugs, burglary, battery and escape from Faulkner Pulaski and White counties, has been sent to prison, court records show.

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