A Casper man convicted of assaulting his nephew and acknowledging his prior criminal past, will spend more time than usual behind bars.

Forty-eight year old James Emerson was sentenced to 15-to-25 years in prison, after a jury found him guilty of one charge of aggravated assault.

After his trial, prosecutors sought to apply the habitual criminal tag, and Emerson acknowledged that his prior criminal history is true.

Investigators with the Casper Police Department say in March, Emerson was drinking at the victim’s residence on Burlington Avenue and got into an argument with another person.

He eventually left and went home, but left his cell phone behind.

The victim told investigators that after he returned it, Emerson jumped him from behind, and put a knife to his neck, saying he was going to slit his throat.

During the struggle, the victim was slashed in the cheek, with an engraved pocket knife.

When questioned by police, Emerson said he could not remember anything about the altercation, and claimed that he had lost the knife in question earlier, but officers eventually found it inside his residence, and tests later showed that the blood on the knife belonged to the victim.

The defense argued that Emerson was attacked first and that the victim had choked him out during the altercation.

They also questioned the investigating procedures done by police.

Emerson's prior criminal record includes a burglary and running a meth lab convictions, hence the enhanced penalty.