CATLETTSBURG An Ashland man who held off police in a four-hour standoff in February pleaded guilty and was sentenced to six years incarcerated on assault and burglary charges.
William Jay Cooper, 57, pleaded guilty in front of Boyd County Circuit Court Judge John Vincent on Thursday on the charges of second-degree assault and second-degree burglary.
Cooper was originally arrested on Feb. 9 after a four-hour standoff with the Ashland Police Department. The incident occurred at an apartment complex at the 1600 block of Beech Street where a resident reported a stabbing.
According to the Ashland Police Department, the victim and Cooper were neighbors and were involved in an altercation in Cooper’s home.
Major Ryan Conley of the Ashland Police Department said that the argument occurred over the neighbor complaining of “loud music” in Cooper’s apartment.
The two then returned to their own apartments. Approximately five minutes later, Cooper left his apartment and knocked on the neighbor’s door, according to police.
Cooper was originally reported to have forced his way into the apartment with a knife, however, prosecutors said that the dispute occurred in the doorway. Cooper was originally charged with first-degree burglary, but due to investigative findings and the fact the dispute did not occur inside the home, the charge was amended to second-degree burglary.
Cooper used the knife to cause a laceration on the left side of the victim’s torso, under his arm and was originally charged with first-degree assault due to the stabbing. Prosecutors said Cooper’s charge was amended to second-degree assault because the laceration didn’t cause a prolonged impairment on health, which is the requirement for first-degree assault.
Boyd County Assistant Commonwealth Attorney Christina Smith said the victim’s cut healed within a week and the prosecutors couldn’t prove the serious physical injury requirements of first-degree assault.
Smith said the Commonwealth Attorney’s Office offered the plea agreement with amended charges due to the investigation findings and the fact the victim was uncooperative with authorities. Smith said there’s a warrant out for the victim’s arrest in an unrelated matter and has refused to speak with prosecutors.
“Not much of a case without a victim,” said Vincent.
Vincent accepted the agreed plea bargain and sentenced Cooper to six years for second-degree assault and six years for second-degree burglary to run concurrently. Vincent ordered Cooper to pay restitution to the property owner for the damaged glass door in the amount of $400.
Smith said that the investigating agency was satisfied with the plea bargain and aware of the victim’s non-compliance.
Cooper remains lodged at the Boyd County Detention Center.