Suspended Glynn County Police Lt. Robert “Cory” Sasser was granted bond Thursday afternoon in Glynn County Magistrate Court and was told by the judge to leave the county within two hours of his release.
Sasser had been hospitalized for observation since his arrest following a standoff with law enforcement early on May 18, during which he allegedly assaulted two fellow county police officers in the woods off Ga. Highway 99 in western Glynn County, according to arrest warrants. At the time, law enforcement officials were trying to rearrest Sasser for violating conditions of his release on simple battery charges. Those charges stem from an incident May 13 in which he allegedly confronted his estranged wife at the door of her residence.
Sasser also was ordered Thursday to have “no contact of any kind” with Glynn County Police Officers Richard Leska and Joesph Hyer, both of whom he allegedly kicked in the groin when taken into custody around 1:30 a.m. on May 18, according to court records. Sasser allegedly had to be Tased by members of the Georgia State Patrol before being subdued, according to an arrest warrant.
Sasser will live with his sister at her home in Theodore, Ala., and must seek treatment for PTSD at the nearest Veterans Administration facility by June 1, according to conditions of his release. Sasser is a military veteran. He also cannot own, possess or be in contact with any firearms, according to the conditions agreed to in Judge Flay Cabiness’s courtroom at the Glynn County Courthouse.
Sasser is putting up property he owns to meet the conditions of his release on $5,000 bond, Glynn County Sheriff Neal Jump said. Sasser was to be processed and released from the Glynn County Detention Center by 4 p.m. Thursday, Jump said. His son was to drive him to Theordore, a small town just north of Mobile, Ala.
“Once he walks out of that gate (at the detention center), he’s got two hours to get out of Glynn County,” Jump said.
Sasser is charged with two felony counts of obstruction of a law enforcement officer with violence and one misdemeanor count of obstruction of a law enforcement officer, all stemming from the May 18 incident. He faces simple battery and criminal trespass charges under the state Family Violence Act in connection with his May 13 arrest. He additionally can have no contact with his wife. He has been on unpaid administrative leave since his first arrest.
Glynn County Police Chief John Powell said he has started the official process to fire Sasser, who has been with the department since 2001.
“I’ve given him notice that he is being terminated,” Powell said Thursday.
Sasser was one of two county police officers involved in the controversial 2010 shooting of Caroline Small, which led to her death a week later. A Glynn County grand jury chose not to pursue criminal charges against Sasser and fellow officer Todd Simpson, who died of cancer in 2016.
In 2014, U.S. District Court Judge Lisa Godbey Wood ruled that the officers did not violate Small’s civil rights with the use of force. That ruling was upheld by the 11th Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals.
Sasser is being represented presently by defense attorney Alan David Tucker. The Brunswick Judicial Circuit and District Attorney Jackie Johnson cited a conflict of interest in prosecuting the charges against Sasser. Instead, John B. Johnson III, the Assistant District Attorney in Wayne County, represented the prosecution.
Sasser can only return to Glynn County for court appearances and he must give two hours’ notice that he is returning, according to conditions of his release. Cabiness warned that any violation of the terms would result in jail time for Sasser.
“Yes, sir,” Sasser responded, when asked if he understood the terms.
“Frankly, I don’t want you back in Glynn County unless you’re back for court,” Cabiness told Sasser. “You’ve caused a lot of problems in this case ... You’ve been given a second chance. Don’t violate the orders again. There won’t be a third chance.”
Sasser initially was arrested May 13 when he arrived at the Glynn County home of his wife at about 3:30 a.m. He allegedly grabbed her arm when she attempted to close the front door. Several responding county police officers allegedly had to “physically restrain” Sasser.
Sasser turned himself in to the county jail the next day and was released on $4,800 bond.
On the afternoon of May 17, a person concerned about Sasser’s welfare called county police and asked them to check on him. Police responding to Hutcheson Plantation off Ga. 99 found Sasser inside his truck in the woods, at which time they heard a gunshot. The gunfire indicated to police that Sasser had violated the condition of his release requiring him to avoid firearms.
Police attempted to take him into custody at 4:30 p.m., and a standoff ensued with Sasser inside his truck, believed to be armed. The state patrol’s SWAT team was called to the scene. It surrounded the truck and took Sasser into custody at 1:30 a.m. the next morning after a struggle, according to the warrant.
“Robert Sasser did not comply with lawful commands given him by members of the Georgia State Patrol SWAT Team and had to be taken into custody through the use of less than lethal force (Taser Device),” the criminal arrest warrant states.
County police officers Hyer and Leska both are SWAT medics and were trying to help Sasser when he allegedly kicked them, according to the warrants.
“Sasser kicked (Leska and Hyer) in the groin while (they were) performing (their) duties as a SWAT medic and attempting to render aid to Robert Sasser,” the report said.
Sasser has been the subject of several internal affairs disciplinary actions, including being written up for inappropriate behavior, Powell said when called by The News Thursday. He was demoted from lieutenant to sergeant at one point, but later earned a promotion back to lieutenant, Powell said.
Powell said the police department had no role in setting Sasser’s release or the condition upon which it was granted, therefore had he no comment on the matter.
“I have to keep my personal feelings out of it,” Powell said.