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Man sentenced for bug spray assault, knife threats

A White City man was sentenced to three years in prison after pleading guilty to a string of crimes that included threatening to kill his pregnant girlfriend and attacking her with wasp spray.

Ryan Lee Hannon, 27, of the 3000 block of Village Circle, White City, was silent but emotional in his green jail uniform as he faced Jackson County Circuit Court Judge Kelly Ravassipour on the counts. 

According to the probable cause affidavit filed in the case, Hannon attacked and threatened to kill his girlfriend of 10 years and himself during an argument about money on June 23, 2015. The victim was nine months pregnant with their second child at the time of the attack, according to the document.

When the argument moved from inside the home to the backyard, the victim said she became fearful of Hannon and attempted to end the fight by handing him the borrowed cash that started the argument. Hannon charged at the pregnant victim like a football player and hit her with his shoulder while he grabbed the money, causing the victim to fall on her back. Hannon then commanded the victim to sit in a spare bedroom alone before grabbing her by the arm to the kitchen table while carrying a large kitchen knife and threatened to kill her and himself.

The victim told police she had never seen him act that way in a fight before, so she pulled out her phone in order to dial 9-1-1. Hannon took the phone away from the victim, and the victim ran to a neighbor's house to call police.

The victim said that during the argument, as well as earlier that day, Hannon sprayed a can of wasp spray on her to the point that it was dripping, and the spray got in her eyes and mouth. The victim had showered the spray off by the time police arrived.

The victim was initially unsure what to say when she tearfully addressed Hannon and the court before the sentencing.

"I just hope that this makes a change," she told Hannon and the court.

"Hopefully, you'll do whatever it is you need to do to fix yourself." 

According to court-appointed defense attorney Michael Bertholf, the harm the spray did to the victim was debated between defense and prosecution. The spray is irritating to the skin, but not toxic unless swallowed or inhaled. Judge Ravassipor said he would have faced much steeper assault charges had the spray injured the victim.

Hannon pleaded guilty to felony charges of second and fourth-degree assault in the incident. Hannon also pleaded guilty on a charge of misdemeanor fourth-degree assault stemming from a fight with a man on Aug. 17, 2015, and he pleaded guilty on a felony charge of attempted second-degree kidnapping stemming from a May 15, 2015, incident in which he approached a female juvenile in Eagle Point and attempted to grab the victim's arm before she ran away.

"What happened here is every parent's nightmare," Ravassipour said.

Ravassipour said that drugs played a strong role in Hannon's string of crimes, and prison is a good opportunity for him to get clean. She warned him that the crimes he committed put him high on the sentencing grid.

"If you ever get involved with the law again, you're looking at some serious time," Judge Ravassipour said.

Ravassipour also told Hannon he still has hope if he can address his drug problem.

"You're young. You've got a lot to look forward to if you make the right choices," she said.

Reach reporter Nick Morgan at 541-776-4471 or nmorgan@mailtribune.com. Follow him on Twitter at @MTCrimeBeat.

Ryan Lee Hannon