Sidney man sentenced to prison for deputy assault

By Melanie Yingst -

TROY — A Sidney man was sentenced to serve 18 months in prison Tuesday for assaulting a Miami County Sheriff’s Office deputy in July 2018.

Rodney Kesler, 61, entered a plea of guilty to one count of fourth-degree felony assault of a police officer from the incident in Bradford on July 22.

Kesler was sentenced to serve 11 months in prison for attempted resisting arrest in a separate incident in Shelby County last week. The sentences will run concurrent with one another.

Kesler apologized to Deputy Sarah Fraley who was present in the court room on Tuesday.

“I apologize to the officer. I’m ashamed of myself and my actions,” Kesler said. “I really do apologize. She’s a heck of a woman and needs to be commended.“

Kesler said his life was “a mess” following several family members’ deaths in a short period of time.

Judge Stacy Wall told Kesler there was “absolutely no excuse” for his actions, detailing how Kesler punched Fraley in the face, head, neck and arm area as she tried to detain him, before being assisted by three bystanders. Wall noted Kesler’s criminal history, including four prior prison terms and a pattern of failure to comply with authority.

Miami County Assistant Prosecutor Janna Parker noted the details of the incident in which Fraley suffered injuries and was placed on leave for a week by a doctor.

Fraley was in the 500 block of South Miami Street, Bradford, as the Piqua Police Department had requested she check the area for a vehicle that was involved in a hit-skip incident earlier in the day. Fraley confronted Kesler in an alley between Church and James streets. Kesler ignored commands to stop and came towards Fraley in an aggressive manner.

Fraley drew her Taser and ordered Kesler to comply. Kesler then pretended to comply before running away, punching Fraley in the chest before he fled. Fraley was able to catch Kesler, and take him to the ground and deployed pepper spray. As she was securing Kesler in cuffs, three residents came to the scene and assisted Fraley in securing Kesler to the ground and in handcuffs.

By Melanie Yingst

The writer is on staff at the Miami Valley Today, a sister newspaper of the Sidney Daily News.

The writer is on staff at the Miami Valley Today, a sister newspaper of the Sidney Daily News.