CEDAR CITY — A man who pleaded guilty to aggravated assault in connection with a fight in the parking lot of a Cedar City restaurant more than four years ago has been sentenced to eight months in jail plus probation.

Joshua Leamon Tinkler, Sr., 48, was sentenced to 240 days in Iron County Jail, to be followed by 36 months of supervised probation. Judge Ann Marie McIff Allen imposed the sentence on Dec. 12 during a hearing in Cedar City’s 5th District Court.

Tinkler had pleaded guilty on Oct. 24 to a single count of aggravated assault — a third-degree felony — and to one count of witness tampering — a class A misdemeanor.  As part of the plea agreement, a related class B misdemeanor assault charge was dismissed.

According to the charging documents filed in support of the charges, Tinkler’s adult son and other individuals were reportedly fighting in the parking lot of the Golden Corral on March 21, 2019, when the elder Tinkler allegedly pulled a gun and pointed it at several people.

Tinkler and his wife already had left the scene by the time Cedar City Police arrived, the affidavit states. However, the responding officers reportedly found in the parking lot an unfired bullet they later matched to the bullets in Tinkler’s gun when they visited him at his home later and arrested him.

Additionally, at the time of the parking lot incident, Tinkler was out on bail on charges of threatening a witness in an unrelated assault case from a couple of months earlier.

Iron County Jail booking photo of Joshua Leamon Tinkler, Sr., Cedar City, Utah, March 2019 | Photo courtesy of Iron County Sheriff’s Office, St. George News / Cedar City News

Tinkler pleaded not guilty to the charges on July 30, 2019. Since then, the case had experienced various delays, due to COVID-19 and other factors. It almost went to a jury trial on at least three separate occasions, most recently in July 2022 but was postponed each time.

Finally, in October 2023, after multiple failures to appear via WebEx videoconference, an arrest warrant was issued and Tinkler was extradited from Florida by two police officers who traveled there to bring him to Utah. Shortly after returning to custody in Iron County, Tinkler entered guilty pleas to two counts as part of the plea agreement.

“I think you probably realize that you can’t just blow off the court proceedings,” Allen said during the sentencing hearing on Dec. 12. “That’s why you’re in this situation today, because you didn’t properly attend to them. I have to account for that in the sentence.”

Tinkler, dressed in his jail-issued orange jumpsuit, sat in a wheelchair during the hearing, accompanied by his lawyer Tara Mosley. He told the court that his health has been deteriorating and that he had been living with family members in Florida.

“Were it not for your present situation, the sentencing recommendation would be much more severe including the possibility of prison,” Allen told Tinkler shortly before she imposed the sentence.

The court gave Tinkler credit for 19 of the 57 days of jail time he’d already served, leaving him to spend another 221 days in the Iron County Jail. After that, he will be placed on probation for 36 months, to be supervised by Adult Probation and Parole, the judge added.

Allen also reduced Tinkler’s fines to $300, plus the $106 in court security fees. However, Tinkler will be required to repay Cedar City Police Department for the cost of his extradition. That restitution amount, approximately $6,800 plus interest, will be payable in 31 monthly payments of $250 starting May 1, 2024, the judge ordered.

“The best thing that you said today in the sentencing, Mr. Tinkler, is that you recognize that your conduct was wrong in these situations,” Allen said. “It’s a serious thing when you behave in a threatening manner that puts others at risk. I think you know that, sir.”

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