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Man sentenced to 32 years in prison guard assault

Published: Tue, February 12, 2013 @ 12:00 a.m.

By John W. Goodwin Jr.



Cornelius Harris, 29, will spend an additional 32 years in prison for assaulting two prison guards at the Ohio State Penitentiary.

A jury, after a weeklong trial, convicted Harris late Friday of two counts of felonious assault and two counts of having a deadly weapon inside a detention facility. He was sentenced Monday by Judge Maureen Sweeney of Mahoning County Common Pleas Court.

Harris, who is serving a 54-year sentence on a litany of other charges, could have been sentenced to an additional 36 years. Judge Sweeney handed down nine-year sentences on each of the felonious assaults and seven-year sentences on each of the possession of a deadly weapon charges.

One of the felonious- assault charges stemmed from an altercation with a guard who was stabbed multiple times including once in the back. The second count stems from the stabbing of a guard during a pat down procedure.

Harris was found not guilty of several attempted- murder charges with jurors opting instead for the lesser- ncluded offenses of felonious assault

Robert Andrews, an assistant county prosecutor, asked the judge to impose the maximum sentence on Harris, saying the court must send a message to Harris that his behavior will not be tolerated.

“The defendant admitted that he did both of these. He admitted he planned both of these. ... It is inexplicable that he would do these things,” said Andrews. “We have to send a message to him and increase his sentence as much as possible.”

Harris, looking gaunt from an ongoing hunger strike to protest his treatment in prison, admitted his wrongdoing, but, just as throughout his trial, said his actions were purely in self-defense.

“In my mind, I felt I was defending myself. I didn’t want to lose teeth or get my head split open dealing with these foul corrections officers,” he said. “I was provoked into these things. I didn’t just wake up one day and decide I was going to attack people. ... Every man has a right to defend himself.”

Harris had asked the judge to impose a more- lenient sentence concurrent with his current sentence so that he might have the opportunity to one day return home.


1uh01547(2 comments)posted 3 years, 2 months ago

This is just wrong. It really is. These corrections officers tortured this man for years. For years. Why have they not been investigated? Someone needs to find out what is going on at The Penetentiary.

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2uetz(38 comments)posted 3 years, 2 months ago

Yes, this poor man has been "tortured" for OH SO MANY YEARS! OHHH THE AGONY !

Was he also "TORTURED" on the streets into committing a "litany" of crimes which got him sentenced to 54 years in prison? He is 29 years old, not 9, he needs to understand if he does not act his age, he will be swiftly dealt with. At his age he should know the difference between right and wrong, but apparently all this time he has spent in prison has been in vain. Just like anyone in life, if you show the correction officers respect, they will show you respect.

What's happening at the penitentiary is roughly only 5% continue to rehabilitate themselves while incarcerated. 85% are back in prison within 1 year, keeping this animal in there simply prevents him from having an emotional roller coaster ride of getting released and returning to prison within 1 week for going over the counter when the McDonald's employee mouths off to him.

People like this need to stay locked up; for some people rehabilitation is simply not feasible.

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