A male inmate accused of killing a corrections officer at a Stillwater prison on July 18 could face first-degree murder charges from prosecutors. The 42-year-old defendant appeared for a brief hearing on Aug. 3 at the Washington County District Court where he has already been charged with second-degree murder and second-degree assault.
The prosecutor said that state law supported the first-degree murder charge because the man had allegedly killed a corrections officer. He expects the grand jury to indict the man on the enhanced charge. The prosecutor said that he had sufficient evidence to take the case to trial. He added that the investigation had not identified a motive for the attack.
The criminal complaint against the defendant, who had been serving a 29-year prison sentence after being convicted for killing his girlfriend in 2002, detailed the attack against the prison employee. He allegedly acted alone when he bludgeoned the victim with a hammer and then stabbed him with knives. The attack took place in a vocational building inside of the prison. The shop foreman witnessed a portion of the fatal attack.
Accusations of homicide or attempted homicide could place an alleged offender in jeopardy of a long prison sentence. A person accused of violent crimes might seek representation from an attorney before entering a plea in court. Legal counsel might form a defense strategy if witness testimony appears unreliable. With legal support, the defendant might obtain a beneficial plea deal or deny the charges at a trial. Depending on the details of the case, acquittal may be possible.