The following press release has been issued by Towns County Sheriff's Ofice.
In the early morning hours of October 1, 2014, Daniel Lee Bower was stopped by Hiawassee Police for traffic offenses. The Hiwassee Officer requested assistance from Towns County Sheriff's Deputies. Deputy Aaron Deyton arrived on scene as the Hiawassee Officer was conducting his investigation. Bower was placed under arrest for suspicion of DUI.
During the course of the stop, Bower stabbed Deputy Aaron Deyton in the neck and attempted to escape, but was apprehended, initially by Deputy Deyton, who was soon joined by the Hiawassee Police Officer and another Towns County Sheriff's Deputy. Towns County 911 Dispatch contacted Sheriff Chris Clinton, who arrived on scene as EMS personnel were working to save Deputy Deyton's life. A medical helicopter had been called, but was unable to land in Towns County due to low cloud cover. Towns County Sheriff's Lt. Mark Henderson escorted the ambulance to a location in neighboring White County, where Deputy Deyton was taken via helicopter to Northeast Georgia Medical Center where he would spend the next month.
After securing the scene, Sheriff Clinton contacted the Georgia Bureau of Investigation to investigate the case, due to the victim being a deputy sheriff. During the course of the investigation, the following was learned: Daniel Lee Bower admitted that he was able to dislocate his thumb in order to slip out of the handcuffs that had been placed on him previously by a Hiawassee Police Officer. As Deputy Deyton was speaking with Bower, Bower said he slipped out of the cuffs and pulled a knife that was hidden inside a belt that had been made to look like a regular belt buckle. Bower then stabbed Deputy Deyton in the neck and fled on foot.
Deputy Deyton, with a near fatal wound, chased Bower over 120 yards to prevent his escape. Bower continued to resist and Deputy Deyton deployed his taser. The Hiawassee Police Officer and another Towns County Sheriff's deputy pursued as well and as they arrived, the other deputy witnessed Deputy Deyton drop his taser, but did not know why. Deputy Matt Prentice then drew his taser and tased Bower multiple times as Bower continued to resist. It was then that the other officers realized that Deputy Deyton was injured. Deputy Deyton stated that, at the time, he thought Bower had punched him and did not realize he had been stabbed.
Deputy Deyton would spend the next month in the hospital on his initial visit and several additional surgeries throughout the following months. Deputy Deyton has only recently been able to return to work as a Deputy Sheriff with the Towns County Sheriff's Office. Deputy Deyton was awarded a Medal of Valor by the Towns County Sheriff's Office and was, again, recognized with a Medal of Valor from the Georgia Sheriffs' Association at the Sheriffs' Summer Training Conference in Jekyll Island, Georgia in July, 2015.
On Wednesday, September 16, 2015, Daniel Lee Bower entered a plea of guilty to criminal attempt to commit murder in the stabbing of Deputy Aaron Deyton. Bower was sentenced by Enotah Judicial Circuit Chief Judge Murphy Miller to 30 years for his crime. The trial had previously been scheduled to begin Monday, September 21, 2015.
The Towns County Sheriff's Office would like to thank the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, Georgia Sheriffs' Association, Hiawassee Police Department, Towns County Fire Department, Towns County Emergency Medical Services, Towns County 911 Dispatch, District Attorney, Jeff Langley and staff, United Community Bank, UGA Football and Coach Mark Richt, UGA Football chaplain, Kevin "Chappy" Hines, Towns County Sheriff's Citizen Law Enforcement Academy alumni, and our community for their generous donations of financial support for Deputy Aaron Deyton during this time.
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