From Staff Reports
A Jasper man facing charges of attempted murder, aggravated assault and aggravated battery was convicted Thursday by a Whitfield County jury of riot in a penal institution and obstruction of a law enforcement officer.
The charges for which John Steven Chynoweth, 23, of 418 Rebecca St., was convicted stemmed from a March 15, 2012, incident at the Whitfield County Jail when Chynoweth attacked Detention Officer Alex Pimentel, attempting to hit him in the face, the district attorney’s office said in a press release. Judge William T. Boyett set sentencing for Oct. 1. Chynoweth could be sentenced to as much as 20 years for the riot charge and five years for obstruction.
Chynoweth was in custody at the time on the charges of attempted murder, aggravated assault and aggravated battery. He had been arrested March 8, 2012. Those charges and other charges against Chynoweth are still pending, the district attorney’s office said.
Authorities previously said Chynoweth attacked a Hispanic coworker in March 2012 after voicing concerns about Hispanics planning to “gang up on him.” According to witness statements recorded in a Dalton Police Department report, Chynoweth, who is white, told police he stabbed Kenny Rosales of Dalton in the throat with a knife that had the words “Ku Klux Klan” on it and a picture of four Klansmen in full Klan dress. Other witnesses told police Chynoweth had a history of drug abuse and that he was becoming increasingly paranoid.
In August, Boyett said the Public Defender’s Office, which represents Chynoweth, can’t call in medical experts to testify whether Chynoweth’s mental state was such that he could be held criminally responsible. Boyett said he denied the testimony because Chynoweth wouldn’t let a doctor the prosecution could have called as a witness examine him.
Assistant District Attorney Jason Souther, assisted by Assistant District Attorney Keely Norman, presented the charges against Chynoweth of riot in a penal institution and obstruction of a law enforcement officer to the jury.