By Conrad Dudderar
EL RENO – A court date is set this month for a repeat felon who allegedly “pepper-sprayed” three detention officers while he was an inmate at the Canadian County Jail.
Weatherford’s Damon Neal Dunbar Jr., 38, was charged June 21 with three counts of discharging a stun gun, tear gas, mace, or other deleterious agent against an officer and one count of possession of contraband in jail.
The felony case stems from an October 2022 incident at the Canadian County Jail, 304 N Evans.
Dunbar is due to appear at a preliminary hearing Oct. 20 before Canadian County Special Judge Charles Gass. An indigent defender has been appointed to represent the convicted felon in this case.
District Judge Khristan K. Strubhar on June 21 issued a warrant for Dunbar’s arrest. That warrant was served Oct. 4 and the defendant was booked into the Canadian County Jail pending the outcome of court proceedings.
Dunbar was transferred from a state Department of Corrections’ facility in Hominy, where he is serving a sentence for previous robbery, burglary, assault, drug, and eluding police officer convictions.
Assistant District Attorney Walter Mengden alleges Dunbar on Oct. 16, 2022 “willfully and unlawfully” discharged pepper mace against Canadian County detention officers George Gonzalez, David Easter and James Woods – striking Gonzalez about the chest and face and Easter and Woods about the face.
The defendant illegally possessed a can of Oleoresin Capsicum (OC) spray – a “substance considered to be a dangerous instrument,” according to the charging document.
Allegations against Dunbar are detailed in an arrest warrant affidavit signed by Canadian County Sheriff’s Lt. Scott Kendrick.
While an inmate at the county’s detention center, Dunbar allegedly took a food tray and shoved it into the upper body of detention officer Easter after Easter told him to return a second tray he had taken without permission.
Dunbar then took from detention officer Gonzalez a large canister of OC spray and deployed it on Woods, Easter and Gonzalez, according to the court affidavit.
Dunbar was seen “staging and preparing a defensive style position prior to entry of the tactical unit” deployed to regain control of situation, the document reads.
Canadian County Sheriff Chris West said Dunbar wasn’t happy with the quantity of food he was getting – and he wanted another tray.
“We can’t have that happen,” West said of the pepper spraying incident.
The four felony counts are punishable by up to 35 years in state prison.
But Dunbar’s penalty could be higher because of his previous felony convictions:
- Canadian County – aggravated assault and battery, possession of controlled substance and driving under the influence of alcohol.
- Custer County – first-degree robbery, first-degree burglary, eluding police officer, unauthorized use of vehicle, and assault and battery on a police officer.
- Dewey County – possession of controlled substance and illegal firearms possession.
- Blaine County – illegal firearms possession.
On Feb. 15, Dunbar was convicted after pleading no contest in three previous Canadian County cases filed in 2015, 2018 and 2022.
Pursuant a plea agreement, Special Judge David H. Halley sentenced him to serve six years in state prison for the aggravated assault and battery, six years for the possession of controlled substance and five years from the DUI liquor – with those three counts to run concurrently.
Dunbar also has served prison time for 2019 cases in Dewey County.