The Idaho man accused of killing a Walker County Sheriff's Office K-9 pleaded guilty Tuesday.
Lookout Mountain Judicial Circuit District Attorney Herbert "Buzz" Franklin said Steven Lee Waldemer pleaded guilty to aggravated battery of a peace officer, aggravated assault on a peace officer, harming a police dog, possession of explosives by a convicted felon, sexual battery and other charges. He will serve 25 years in prison.
According to a news release, Waldemer's string of crimes began on June 12, when one of his neighbors in Head River, Ga., came over for a visit. Waldemer, on parole from Idaho for a kidnapping conviction, assaulted the woman. When she yelled for help from her son, who was outside, the boy ran toward her. But Waldemer hit him in the head.
The woman and her son tried to run away, according to the release, but he grabbed the woman, threw her to the ground and choked her. He brought her back inside and threatened her with a shotgun until she performed sexual acts on him.
Later, after Waldemer let the woman go home, she called the police. The Walker County Sheriff's Office SWAT team and local parole officer rode to his house with warrants for his arrest. The police called out to Waldemer on a loudspeaker, asked him to surrender.
When Waldemer ignored the commands, officers threw pepper spray inside. But he still didn't leave the house. So, according to the release, the officers unleashed K-9 Deputy Tanja, a 2-year-old Dutch shepherd. Police say Waldemer shot Tanja, killing her.
Deputy Donnie Brown, who was near the dog, was also injured by the shotgun blast, though he survived. Waldemar jumped out the back window and ran away. However, officers tracked him down in the woods about two hours later. He was carrying an SKS rifle.
Franklin said that, in addition to pleading guilty to the crimes, Waldemer surrendered 12 acres of property in Head River, which is in Dade County.