John Penland

Penland, John Brittian

Date of Booking:

Reason(s) For Booking:

Officer’s Narrative:
[Please note: The following is a direct transcription from the officer’s narrative report. We do not fix any spelling or grammatical errors. Any changes made by our staff are placed inside brackets. Some errors may exist.]

On 05/25/2022 at approximately 2:06 am, I responded to the Altamaha Park Campground in reference to an assault.

Upon arrival, I made contact with [VICTIM #1] and [WITNESS #1]. [VICTIM #1] told me he was cut by a manchette by the other male on scene who was across the campground from our location speaking with officer Henley. I asked [VICTIM #1] if he wanted an Ambulance and he said he wasn’t sure. I observed a small but fairly deep laceration on the left side of [VICTIM #1]’s torso. I also observed the left side of his face had what appeared to be blood on it.

I then walked over to speak with John. When I approached him, I began looking for the Machete that he supposedly used against [VICTIM #1]. I found it leaned against the bench he was sitting on within his reach. I observed wet blood on it. I then collected said machete as evidence. I bagged it in paper bags and secured it in the trunk of my patrol car.

I then spoke with [VICTIM #1] at length about what happened. He stated his former girlfriend [WITNESS #1] called him and told him John Brittian “put his hands on her” her at Moonshiner’s bar earlier this evening and he went to pick her up. He said they then came here to get her belongings and they did not expect him to be back at the camp site because of how drunk he was at moonshiners. He said upon their arrival, he pulled his vehicle up to the camp site. Both he and [WITNESS #1] exited the vehicle. John then came out of the tent and began yelling at them.

[VICTIM #1] said he tried to tell John they were there to get [WITNESS #1]’s stuff and then they would leave. John then got in [VICTIM #1]’s face and started screaming. [VICTIM #1] said he put his hands up and told John not to touch him. He also told him again that they were just there to get [WITNESS #1]’s stuff and then they will leave. [VICTIM #1] said John then pushed him and acted like he was going to headbutt him. [VICTIM #1] said he then hit John. [VICTIM #1] said he hit John until he fell down. [VICTIM #1] then backed away from John.

John then got back up and came at him again. [VICTIM #1] said he then hit him some more and asked him if he was done and told him he did not want to do this. He just wants to get [WITNESS #1]’s stuff and leave. [VICTIM #1] said he let John get back up and when he did, John went back over to the camp site and came back to him with a machete. [VICTIM #1] said he told [WITNESS #1] lets get in the car and go.

John then approached [VICTIM #1] who was now at his vehicle, grabbed him by the throat pulling him closer and kissed him, bit his face. [VICTIM #1] said he then pushed his thumb into John’s eye and John then put the machete around his back and wrestled him to the ground. [VICTIM #1] also said John pressed the blade against his back. [WITNESS #1] said she was able to get John off of [VICTIM #1].

I also spoke with [WITNESS #1] who said she had [VICTIM #1] bring her out to this location because she needed to get some of her stuff. She said they did not expect John to be here and as soon as she got out of the vehicle he busted out of the tent. She further explained John approached [VICTIM #1] while he was still at the door of his vehicle and began verbally attacking him. She said she had to go to the bathroom so she missed part of the incident, but when she came back [VICTIM #1] and John were scuffling on the ground.

She said the fight broke up for a little bit and she went to get more of her belongings from the camp. She said John then retrieved the machete and ran at [VICTIM #1]. She said John ended up having [VICTIM #1] wrapped around the back with the machete. She then attempted and was successful at taking the machete away from John. She said John was then holding [VICTIM #1] by his throat. She then put John in a choke hold and pulled him off of [VICTIM #1].

I then walked over to speak with John. I identified myself to him and asked him what happened. He said he told whoever came over to his tent and starting taking things “That’s not going to happen”. I asked him if he realized it was [WITNESS #1] and he said yes and she had announced herself. He said he would not let [WITNESS #1] into his tent and [VICTIM #1] told him he was going to let her in.

I asked John what happened next and he said he was choked out for a minute. He said [VICTIM #1] told him he was going to let her get her stuff and he told him no if she wants her stuff she can go through the proper channels to get it. He said its not his(John’s) stuff and its not [WITNESS #1]’s stuff. I asked who the stuff belongs to and John answered with “At this point I don’t give a sh*t who’s it is”.

I asked John how [VICTIM #1] got the lacerations on his body and he said the only thing he(John) did was have the machete “was sitting here” and [VICTIM #1] approached him. John said [VICTIM #1] put him in a headlock. I asked John if at any point he attacked [VICTIM #1] with the machete and he said no. John then said he never wielded the machete against [VICTIM #1]. John said he did bite [VICTIM #1], but that was after he([VICTIM #1]) put him(John) in a headlock. John then denied kissing [VICTIM #1] when asked.

After comparing the testimony of all parties involved with the physical evidence I found probable cause to charge John with Aggravated Assault against [VICTIM #1]. He was placed in handcuffs with his hands behind his back which were checked for tightness. I then placed John in the backseat of my patrol car.

I spoke with [REDACTED BY AGENCY] who stated he heard John threaten to kill [VICTIM #1]. He also made the statement [WITNESS #1] was instigating things a bit. I also spoke with [REDACTED BY AGENCY] who said he saw John with a machete ,but he wasn’t able to see exactly what he was going with hit. He said he also saw John assaulting [VICTIM #1] with his hands.

I then transported John to the SGHS ER for the purposes of a jail clearance. While at the hospital, John kept complaining he was the one going to jail and wanted to know why. When I informed him as to why he was being charged, I gave him the opportunity to make another statement if he wanted to under Miranda because he was now in custody. He said he would make a statement. I read him Miranda and he said he understood his rights and would answer questions without a lawyer present.

I asked him to tell me what happened. He said he did not know. I told him after speaking with other officers I learned he was at Moonshiners drinking. He said she ([WITNESS #1]) took him to Moonshiners. I asked him what happened at Moonshiners and he said he doesn’t know and doesn’t remember much. He said he remembers [WITNESS #1] claiming he choked her out, but that’s not true.

He said it wasn’t 5 minutes after he got back to his campsite that [WITNESS #1] and [VICTIM #1] arrived at this camp site. He said they told him they “were gonna beat his a*s”, got up in his face and he told them to go away. He said [WITNESS #1] went into the camp site and into his tent and began messing with his personal belongings. He said [WITNESS #1] lives with her father, but stays with him (John) at his campsite from time to time and has personal belongings there.

John said he never put his hands on [VICTIM #1] even while holding the machete. He also said he never picked the machete up and tried to hurt [VICTIM #1] in any way with it. He then said he used the machete to defend himself from [VICTIM #1] Choking him. He then said he did not attack him with the machete even when he started choking him, he was just trying to get [VICTIM #1] off of him. He also said the machete had nothing to do with it. I asked him how the machete came to be in his hands and he said he didn’t know. He said he felt like he needed something to defend himself with. He also said he used the machete as a deterrent and that [WITNESS #1] starting choking him.

John was eventually cleared for jail and I transported him to GCDC where he was turned over to the jail staff on one charge of Aggravated Assault. My bodyworn camera was active and the video has been uploaded to under this case number. photographs of [VICTIM #1] and John’s injuries were uploaded to under this case number.

No further.