RAVENNA — The man accused of setting a Portage County sheriff’s deputy on fire has been found capable of standing trial, according to the results of an evaluation ordered by Portage County Common Pleas Court.
Jay Brannon, 45, of Atwater, allegedly was fleeing from Portage County deputies and Northeast Ohio Medical University officers on Feb. 14 about 6:43 p.m. as the officers attempted to serve a warrant on him.
The officers received information Brannon was at 3964 Route 44 in Rootstown Township, Portage County Sheriff Dave Doak said at the time. When officers attempted to arrest Brannon, he allegedly set a can of a liquid believed to be paint thinner on fire and threw it at deputies, catching Portage County Sheriff’s Sgt. Jim Acklin on fire.
Brannon was arrested and indicted on five counts of attempted aggravated murder, five counts of aggravated arson, and one count of felonious assault, all first-degree felonies. His bond is $2 million and he has been held in the Portage County Jail.
During a hearing Wednesday, Judge Becky Doherty said the report found Brannon able to understand the legal proceedings and able to stand trial.
Brannon’s attorney, Donald L. Walker, did not dispute the accuracy of that finding but he did dispute another that said Brannon does not have any mental illness or intellectual disability and requested a second sanity evaluation.
Doherty ordered a second evaluation be completed by a different psychological center.
A trial date has not been set.
Acklin was burned on his face, arms and hands, over “about 20 to 23 percent of his body,” Doak said at the time. Acklin has since been released from the hospital.
Contact reporter Eileen McClory at 330-298-1128, firstname.lastname@example.org or @Eileen_McClory.