Washington State Penitentiary inmate sentenced in assault on officers

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WALLA WALLA — A Washington State Penitentiary inmate was sentenced Monday afternoon to a year and three months in prison for assaulting three correctional officers in December.

Marco J. Rodriguez, 27, faced a standard-range penalty of a year-and-a-day to 16 months.

In handing down the 15-month term, Superior Court Judge Pro Tem Mike Mitchell went along with a compromise recommendation reached by the defense and prosecution in a plea agreement.

Rodriguez’s current prison term runs until at least April 2028 for committing two first-degree assaults in King County in 2005. The new 15-month term imposed by Mitchell on Monday will be served afterward.

Mitchell also placed Rodriguez on a year of community custody, a form of probation, after his release and ordered him to pay a total of $14,386 in various costs and fees, including $12,648 in restitution.

Rodriguez pleaded guilty July 23 to three counts of custodial assault.

A co-defendant, inmate Joshua S. Perez, entered guilty pleas Monday to identical charges and will be sentenced later.

Based on his criminal history that includes 17 felonies, Perez faces a standard range of 4 1/4-5 years, which will be served after he completes his current 7 1/2-year term for two counts of second-degree assault in Yakima County for which he was sentenced in 2010.

The prosecution is recommending five years.

Luis A. Rangel, a third co-defendant in the December penitentiary assaults, is awaiting trial on charges of second-degree assault, prison riot and two counts of custodial assault, which Rodriguez and Perez initially faced before reaching plea agreements with the prosecution reducing their cases.

Officials said Rangel, 23, came from behind officer Fred Edinger in the prison’s West Complex about 1:15 p.m. Dec. 11, used his fist to strike Edinger and pushed him into an officer’s station.

Within seconds, Rodriguez and Perez, 27, ran into the station and joined the assault, according to authorities.

Officers William A. Bermoy and Johnny Gonzalez tried to assist Edinger, but also reportedly were assaulted by the group of inmates.

Edinger suffered a concussion, and facial and head injuries in the unprovoked attack, officials said. Gonzalez was treated for a severe fracture of facial bones and Bermoy injured his back when he was pushed or fell to the floor.

They were taken to Providence St. Mary Medical Center for treatment.

The inmates involved were placed in segregation and the West Complex was on lockdown status for a time.

Terry McConn can be reached at terrymcconn@wwub.com or 526-8319.

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