Schuylkill Haven man who used toddler son as shield during arrest sentenced to prison

·3 min read

Jun. 21—POTTSVILLE — A Schuylkill Haven man charged with using his then-18-month-old son as a shield while being arrested last year pleaded guilty Tuesday to three of the 14 counts against him in Schuylkill County Court.

Joshua King, 36, of 619 N. Garfield Ave., who was shot with a Taser stun gun five times during the encounter with police, and whose child was also struck by a Taser shot, was scheduled to stand trial Tuesday. Instead, King pleaded guilty to a felony count of endangering the welfare of children and misdemeanors of criminal mischief and resisting arrest.

The remaining charges, which included three felony counts of aggravated assault, another felony of endangering the welfare of children and other misdemeanors, were withdrawn.

King was sentenced to 18 to 38 months in a state correctional facility on the felony count and concurrent sentences of two to 12 months for criminal mischief and one to 12 months for resisting arrest.

The sentences will run concurrent to the three to 23 months he is serving in a state correctional facility on an unrelated charge of endangering the welfare of children filed by Schuylkill Haven Police for a Jan. 27, 2021, incident. Now-retired Schuylkill County Judge Cyrus P. Dolbin issued that sentence as part of a guilty plea on May 12.

King's new sentence will also be concurrent with one ordered by Judge Christina E. Hale on March 18, 2021, of a maximum of 18 months for simple assault, to which he also pleaded guilty. That charge by Schuylkill Haven police stemmed from an incident on Oct. 26, 2020.

Tuesday's guilty plea is the result of charges filed against King after an incident on May 24, 2021, in Schuylkill Haven.

Patrolman Kenneth Jacoby said he responded to a complaint at the home of King's parents. King, when confronted by officers in an upstairs bedroom, and while holding his son, began to fight with officers, Jacoby said. When officers tried to take the toddler, King pushed them away and tried to kick them, police said.

Orwigsburg Patrolman Brandon Bayer shot King with his Taser, but he pulled out the probes and fought more aggressively, Jacoby said. Officers, however, were able to get the child from him.

At some point during the fighting in the bedroom, the 18-month-old was struck in the upper leg by the two probes from the Taser, according to Jacoby. Bayer immediately deactivated the weapon.

King continued to fight and was shot with a Taser a second time, but pulled out the darts and ran to a neighboring house. He continued to refused commands, prompting police to fire the Taser a third time. Again, King pulled out the darts and ran through a small opening between two buildings and was found lying in a yard in the area of a car dealership.

He rose and tried to run into another house. Penn State Police Officer Nicholas Windell used his Taser, but King yanked the darts out a fourth time and fled again.

Jacoby said officers caught up with King, who had entered an unlocked vehicle. He threw a full toolbox at officers, jumped into the driver's seat and locked the doors.

Bayer smashed the driver's side window. King left through the passenger's side, but was finally taken into custody by Windell, who stunned him with a fifth Taser shot.

Police said the child was evaluated by Schuylkill EMS and taken to an area hospital. Schuylkill Haven Police Chief Jeffrey Walcott explain the child felt two needle pricks from the darts and was released without requiring medical attention, Walcott said.