A jail inmate who strangled a Douglas County Sheriff’s deputy has been sentenced to seven years in prison for the September 2018 attack.

Matthew Douglas Farmen, 25, of Highlands Ranch, was sentenced Monday by Douglas County District Court Judge Jeffrey Holmes, according to a district attorney’s office news release.

Douglas County District Attorney

Matthew Farmen

On May 6, Farmen pleaded guilty to one count of second-degree assault of a police officer while in custody, a Class 4 felony, according to the news release. Additional counts against Farmen were dropped as part of a plea agreement.

Farmen was in jail on suspicion of stealing his mother’s car when he assaulted the deputy. He has since been convicted of second-degree burglary in the initial case.

On Sept. 20, 2018, Farmen asked the deputy to help him move a mattress in his cell. The deputy had Farmen step outside and then went inside the cell when Farmen attacked, the release said. The two struggled and Farmen wrapped his arm around the deputy’s neck.

Farmen “had the deputy in a choke hold for 20 to 30 seconds,” Deputy District Attorney Zoe Laird said during her sentencing argument, the release said. “The deputy was just trying to assist the inmate, and he was met with violent and anti-social actions.”

As part of the sentencing, Holmes cited the initial case and two previous deferred judgments in handing down the seven-year term, the release said.

“Those are concerning instances for a man who is only 25 years of age,” Holmes told Farmen. “The deputy is there trying to do a difficult job — you assault him and hurt him badly enough that he is in physical therapy for months.”

Douglas County Sheriff Tony Spurlock followed the case closely.

“I am very pleased to see that the defendant will be held accountable for his actions not only against my deputy but against my office as a whole. When one of our own is harmed, it affects all of us,” Spurlock said in the release. “This deputy was just doing his job, trying to help the inmate, and was violently assaulted for no other reason but that he was deputy sheriff.”

Holmes sentenced Farmen to four years in prison for the second-degree burglary conviction. That term will be served concurrently to the assault term.

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