published Thursday, January 10th, 2013

Ringgold man who handcuffed himself to woman gets four years in prison

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    Jason Earl Dean was sentenced to four years in prison. He then must serve six years' probation with the condition that he not attempt to contact the girl or her family.

Jason Earl Dean was so obsessed with a then-18-year-old female co-worker at the Taco Bell in Ringgold, Ga., that he waited for her shift to end the night of Aug. 8, 2011, and handcuffed himself to her wrist.

She called for help, and several other employees ran outside and talked Dean into letting her go.

This week Dean, 25, was sentenced to four years in prison by Catoosa County Superior Court Judge Ralph Van Pelt. He then must serve six years' probation with the condition that he not attempt to contact the girl or her family.

"Based on what came out during the hearing, this was a very fair sentence," Lookout Mountain Assistant District Attorney Alan Norton said Monday. "There was testimony put forth about a previous incident some years ago in Murray County."

As for an apology from Dean, Norton said, "I don't think there ever was one."

Dean and the girl were part of the crew that reopened the Taco Bell off Old Alabama Highway near Interstate 75 in July nine weeks after a massive tornado damaged it and many other structures there in April 2011.

Dean had been trying to go out with the woman for several weeks, and employees had changed her shift so she could avoid him, Ringgold Police Chief Dan Bilbrey said at the time.

He handcuffed the woman because he wanted her to talk to him, Norton said Dean told police.

Dean, who fled after the handcuffing incident, was arrested two days later by Dalton State College campus police with the handcuffs in his possession.

His public defender, Ben Bradford, couldn't be reached for comment late Wednesday afternoon.

The story of the man's unusual attempt to secure his co-worker's affections received international attention, appearing on websites such as The Huffington Post and MailOnline, the site of the Daily Mail newspaper in the United Kingdom.

about Tim Omarzu...

Tim Omarzu covers Catoosa and Walker counties for the Times Free Press. Omarzu is a longtime journalist who has worked as a reporter and editor at daily and weekly newspapers in Michigan, Nevada and California. Stories he's covered include crime in blighted parts of metro Detroit and Reno, Nev.; environmental activists tree-sitting in California's Sierra Nevada foothills; attempts by the Michigan Militia to take over a township¹s government in northern Michigan. A native of Michigan, ...

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