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Man accused of setting Portage County sheriff’s deputy on fire indicted, bond remains at $2 million

February 22, 2019

Man accused of setting Portage County sheriff’s deputy on fire indicted, bond remains at $2 million

RAVENNA, Ohio -- A Portage County grand jury handed up an indictment against a 49-year-old man accused of lighting a Portage County sheriff’s deputy on fire, severely burning the man just months before retirement.

Jay Brannon of Atwater is charged with five counts of attempted aggravated murder, five counts of aggravated arson and one count of felonious assault, according to court documents.

Brannon also harmed members of the Northeast Ohio Medical University police who responded to the incident, records say.

Brannon pleaded not guilty during his arraignment Friday morning and remains in the Portage County Jail on a $2 million bond. Prosecutors argued to keep the bond because of Brannon’s criminal history and the danger he poses to the public. Portage County Common Pleas Court Judge Becky Doherty agreed and declined to reduce it.

Donald Walker, Brannon’s attorney, intends to file a motion to reduce Brannon’s bond in the coming days.

Brannon’s next court appearance is a pretrial hearing and is scheduled for March 27. His trial is scheduled for April 9.

Brannon doused Sgt. James Acklin with a flammable liquid and set him on fire on Valentine’s Day when authorities went to serve Brannon a warrant, officials say.

Acklin was taken to the burn unit at Akron Children’s Hospital, according to a news release.

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