Front Royal man pleads no contest to assaulting officer

FRONT ROYAL — In a case that was originally set for trial on Monday, a local man pleaded no contest, as part of his plea agreement, to assaulting an officer with the Warren County Sheriff’s Office in July 2016.

The Sheriff’s Office received a call about Marcus Gibson, 35, acting “out of control,” Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Anna Hammond said during Monday’s hearing. When an officer caught up with Gibson, who was driving a car, Gibson refused to talk to the officer and began shouting obscenities. Gibson also refused to exit his vehicle when the officer asked, and Gibson grabbed the officer’s Taser and stunned the  officer’s arm before being placed under arrest.

Gibson had taken a smoking cessation medication that affects one’s mood and behavior, his attorney, B.R. Hicks, explained. He noted that the behavior was “out of character” for his client. Hammond said that the arresting officers reported how Gibson was “extremely cooperative” with them after he calmed down.

Circuit Judge Dennis L. Hupp accepted the plea agreement, which calls for a one-year deferred disposition under which the charge of assaulting an officer charge would be dismissed if Gibson meets certain requirements imposed as part of the agreement — completion of 200 hours of community service, good overall behavior and avoiding use of drugs or alcohol.  Alternatively, he faces a conviction if he fails to meet the terms of the plea agreement. The agreement also calls for immediate dismissal of the charge of disarming an officer.

Gibson will return to Warren County Circuit Court on June 4, 2018, for review in this case.