Ronnie Lee Deel

A Harker Heights man was sentenced to a dozen years in prison for spitting in a police officer’s face, a court official confirmed.

Ronnie Lee Deel, 54, was sentenced to 12 years in prison for harassment of a public servant, a third-degree felony, said Adela Gomez, office manager for the Bell County District Attorney’s Office. Deel was sentenced in the 264th Judicial District Court of Judge Paul LePak on Friday.

Deel was arrested on Sept. 7, 2018, after spitting in a Killeen police officer’s face following his arrest for failure to identify, according to the arrest affidavit.

Killeen officers responded that afternoon to the Spec’s liquor store in the 2500 block of East Central Texas Expressway on a disturbance call.

Upon arrival, witnesses said Ronnie Lee Deel had harassed customers at the store before walking away on foot toward the Academy Sports and Outdoors in the same shopping center.

Police said they located Deel, who identified as “James Ward” and gave officers four different birthdates when asked. After a database search returned no information, Deel was placed in custody and escorted to a patrol car.

As officers placed him in the vehicle, Deel began cursing and threatening the officers and spit on the face of an officer in the vehicle as they were driving out of the parking lot, according to the affidavit.

After positively identifying Deel, police said he was listed in a database as “highly contagious” because he has HIV/AIDS.

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