Former lawman jailed on probation violation over assault - WSMV Channel 4

Former lawman jailed on probation violation over domestic assault

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COLUMBIA, TN (WSMV) -

A former special deputy from Williamson County will spend 150 days in jail for failing to complete a court-ordered class on domestic violence.

Gilbert Leon was accused of attacking two different women within a one-year period, and this technicality in his punishment had him entering jail Wednesday.

Leon was a special deputy to be assigned to a task force and an employee of the Williamson County Sheriff's Office.

So often you hear about domestic violence victims too afraid to speak out, but Rachel Hafner-Rice spoke out and watched her attacker get probation.

However, now 18 months after her ordeal started, she feels justice in a most unexpected way.

"He has an extremely violent temper. At the snap of a finger, he can turn in a second, and his hands are on my throat the next," she said.

Leon has four children with four different women. Hafner-Rice said he beat her up twice, but the third time was the last time, as he beat on her door in December 2011.

"It was an immediate slamming of the door, pushing me and I went flying across my kitchen floor, hitting my head on the refrigerator," she said.

Hafner-Rice aggressively prosecuted, even afraid the whole time if he would come back. But Leon got probation and was told to take classes.

Then, about six months later, he was arrested for grabbing another woman by the hair and dragging her down stairs while she held a child.

Again, he received probation - no jail time - and was told to take classes.

District Attorney Mike Bottoms said this was the mechanism to make Leon pay because Leon did not take enough classes.

"You have not done anything you were told - not only told, you agreed - to do. It was an agreed order," said Maury County Circuit Court Judge Bobby Sands.

So, Leon was sentenced to serve 10 days in jail for every class he skipped, and Hafner-Rice has the justice she sought.

"I need to teach my daughter every day that it is not OK for a man to treat her the way somebody has treated me," she said.

The probation violation also allows Bottoms to un-retire the domestic assault charge Hafner-Rice once filed, so she will get another chance to pursue the case in court.

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