Man admits to stealing Middletown cruiser, crashing into another in ‘ambush’ incident

A Middletown man has admitted guilt to all charges after he was accused of stealing a Middletown police cruiser and purposely crashing into another.

Jason Cooper, 50, who has been held in lieu of a $250,000 bond since the February 2019 incident, was charged with two counts of felonious assault, aggravated robbery, grand theft, two counts of resisting arrest, two counts of vandalism and possession of criminal tools.

On Tuesday in Butler County Common Pleas Court, Cooper pleaded guilty to all charges in exchange for a sentence of six years in prison.

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Judge Charles Pater said he agreed to the plea and probable sentence after consulting with both the prosecution and defense as well as the officers who were the victims.

“I indicated I believed six years would be enough of a sentence. It’s a pretty significant sentence,” Pater said.

Cooper was scheduled to go to trial in November, but his attorney asked to withdraw due to health reasons. Cooper’s new attorney, Richard Hyde, was in court with him when the plea was entered.

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On Feb. 28, 2019, Cooper’s girlfriend called 911 claiming he was “extremely drunk,” slamming doors, yelling and cursing, according to police. When Officer Patrick Glassburn arrived at the 100 block of Bavarian Street, the 911 caller stood on the second-floor balcony and told the officer Cooper was hiding in the bushes outside the apartment.

As Cooper hid, he listened to the police scanner on his cell phone. Former police Chief Rodney Muterspaw said he believed Cooper was preparing to “ambush” the officer. Cooper allegedly came out from behind the bushes and displayed a knife to the officer. Glassburn told Cooper to drop what he was carrying, and when he refused, Glassburn used his Taser, which was ineffective.

Cooper then got into the cruiser and crashed into another cruiser driven by Officer Ryan Morgan, who was responding to the disturbance call.

Cooper’s official sentencing is set for June 30.

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