WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- A former New Hanover County Sheriff's deputy accused of tasing a utility worker has been found guilty of simple assault.
The district attorney says former deputy Reed Roberts not only used his taser, but tried to use his service weapon and handcuffs on Duke Energy contract worker Jerome Wallace. Wallace came to Roberts’s Pender County home last fall to restore power after a late payment.
"I see him come out of the house with the gun. I had no idea what he would do next,” Wallace said on the stand.
Wallace says the whole incident started from something small: the late payment of an electric bill.
Wallace was given an order to cut the power off in Robert’s home for non-payment, and when the bill was finally paid, he returned to restore power.
That's when he says the trouble started.
"I turned around and Mr. Roberts was directly behind me. He started screaming, hollering about his barricade, and ‘what the f*** are you doing back here and you mother f*****,’” Wallace said.
Roberts told investigators he was upset because he thought Wallace damaged some logs Roberts used to barricade a hole in his fence.
Wallace says after restoring power he tried to leave but was again confronted by Roberts.
"By then he was screaming, 'you better not f****** leave, you better not f****** leave. I want your ID.' And I turned around and said, 'sir my ID is in my truck, if you let me in, I'll get it to you,' but before I could say anything, he shot me with the taser,” Wallace explained.
Wallace was able to get out his pepper spray to fight back.
"He didn't see it coming, and I just pepper sprayed him in his face,” he said.
Investigators say Roberts went back into his house to get his gun as Wallace drove off scared, and hurt.
The judge stripped Roberts of his law enforcement credentials and sentenced him to 12 months probation and a 30-day suspended jail term.