A 22-year-old Crownsville man was sentenced to five years in prison yesterday for slashing at a police officer with a knife during his arrest in December.
Circuit Court Judge Raymond G. Thieme Jr. sentenced Tony R. Weatherholtz, of the 1200 block of Generals Highway, to 10 years and suspended five years of the sentence.
The judge also placed him on five years probation.
Weatherholtz pleaded guilty to assault with intent to avoid lawful apprehension stemming from the incident last winter, said Warren W. Davis III, assistant state's attorney.
Mr. Davis said a neighbor called police shortly before midnight on Dec. 20 to report that someone was tampering with the cars parked at Coal's Amoco station on the 1300 block of Generals Highway.
Officer Paul Roberts responded and saw Weatherholtz running from the service station and into his home in the next block. The officer knocked on the door of the house and was let in by Weatherholtz's aunt, Mary Ward, who also lived there, Mr. Davis said.
Officer Roberts went up to a second-floor bedroom and asked Weatherholtz to come downstairs, Mr. Davis said.
As the two men walked through the kitchen, Weatherholtz grabbed a kitchen knife off a butcher-block cutting table, Mr. Davis said.
Officer Roberts lunged at Weatherholtz' arm, then hit him on the side of the head with his flashlight, altering the arc of the knife. The blade grazed the officer's jacket.
"If it weren't for the officer reacting the way he did, he could have been killed," Mr. Davis said.
Officer Roberts and two other officers drew their weapons and ordered Weatherholtz to freeze. But he ran back upstairs. Ms. Ward placed herself as a shield between her nephew and the officers, Mr. Davis said.
Weatherholtz surrendered a short time later, Mr. Davis said.
Weatherholtz was originally charged with attempted murder.
But Mr. Davis said he agreed to accept a guilty plea to the reduced charge because, given Weatherholtz' criminal record, the state sentencing guidelines were the same for both offenses.
The guidelines, which recommended a 10- to 15-year sentence, are based several factors including the seriousness of the offense, the offender's criminal record, the degree of injury to the victim and the type of weapon used, Mr. Davis said.
Weatherholtz had a "continued history of illegal activity since 1982," including convictions for burglary, malicious destruction of property, theft and possession of controlled dangerous substances, Mr. Davis said.