Former Deputy Found Guilty of Assault
Posted April 5, 2007 12:37 p.m. EDT
Updated April 5, 2007 11:09 p.m. EDT
Raleigh, N.C. — A jury convicted a former Wake County deputy of assault Thursday evening after almost 11 hours of deliberations.
Christopher Roth is the first of three former deputies to be tried on a simple assault charge stemming from an altercation last August outside an Applebee's restaurant on U.S. Highway 70 in Garner.
Superior Court Judge Donald Stephens set sentencing for Monday afternoon. Roth likely will be sentenced to community service, but will not serve any jail time for the misdemeanor charge.
Robert Wise said three undercover officers cursed and beat him in front of his wife and daughter because they were upset that he had taken up two parking spaces outside the restaurant.
Wise appeared to say, "Thank you, Jesus," as the verdict was read.
As he left court Thursday evening, he made no comment on the verdict but recited a bible verse from the book of Isaiah: "Every tongue that shall rise up against you in judgment, thou shalt condemn. this is the heritage of the servant of the Lord and your righteousness is of me, saith the Lord."
Two weeks after the alleged incident, Roth and deputies Katie Broda and Kevin Hinton resigned from the Wake County Sheriff's Office. Sheriff Donnie Harrison has since apologized for his deputies' actions.
The jury deliberated for about four hours Wednesday, listening again to a 911 call made by Wise's wife during the incident, before heading home for the night. On Thursday morning, jurors asked to see photos of the crime scene and read the transcript of Roth's interview with a State Bureau of Investigation agent.
Roth testified Tuesday that he did not do anything wrong. He said he felt it was his duty to investigate why Wise was occupying two parking spaces.
Broda testified that Wise acted aggressively toward the deputies.
Wise, his wife and daughter testified that the deputies came running up to their vehicle without identifying themselves, yanked Wise out of the driver's seat and hit him and used pepper spray. Wise's daughter said she also was pepper sprayed during the incident.
Roth and the other two former deputies said Wise mouthed off to them and then resisted arrest.
"He was very disappointed but he is ready to move on. He is happy in the fact that there is some closure to this," said Hart Miles, Roth's attorney following the verdict.
Roth was the first to stand trial. No trial date has been set for Hinton or Broda.
Wise has filed a civil lawsuit against the former deputies, the sheriff's office and Wake County.