Inmates sentenced in beatings of fellow prisoner

Joshua P. Loper, James S. Rocha and David S. Travis each will serve additional time for an attack last March.

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WALLA WALLA -- Three inmates who pleaded guilty to assaulting a fellow prisoner at the Washington State Penitentiary were handed additional prison terms Monday.

Joshua P. Loper, 24, was sentenced to two years, co-defendant James S. Rocha, 27, was ordered to serve 51 months and David S. Travis, 26, received a 43-month term. All three had their terms tacked on to the sentences they are currently serving.

The sentences handed down by Walla Walla County Superior Court Judge Donald W. Schacht varied based on the inmates' previous criminal records.

Each was also placed on 12 months of community custody, a form of probation, when released. They were each ordered to pay $1,722.40 in fines and court costs apiece.

Loper, Rocha and Travis pleaded guilty March 15 to a charge of third-degree assault.

They had been accused of prison riot and three counts of second-degree assault, but the cases were reduced in plea agreements with the prosecution.

Officials said the inmates attacked three others in a dining facility during the evening meal on March 23, 2009. Loper, Rocha and Travis struck, punched and kicked the victims -- one who was wheelchair-bound -- in the unprovoked attack, according to authorities.

The defendants continued the assaults even after they were instructed by correctional staff to stop and had to be forced to the floor, officials said.

The guilty pleas they entered relate to injuries suffered by the wheelchair-bound victim.

Terry McConn contributed to this report. Andy Porter can be reached at andyporter@wwub.com or 526-8318. Check out his blog at blogs.ublabs.org/randomthoughts.

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