Trial reset for inmate charged in officer assault

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WALLA WALLA — A new trial date has been set for a Washington State Penitentiary inmate accused of participating in an attack last year on a correctional sergeant who was spared serious injury because of items in and on his uniform.

Castulo J. Rivas, 46, had been scheduled for the Superior Court jury trial last month on the charge of first-degree assault. But the proceedings now are slated to begin Oct. 15.

The trial has been postponed several times, and a few weeks ago a different attorney was appointed to represent Rivas.

Officials said he and co-defendant John Valdez, 45, assaulted Sgt. James Bailey about 7:40 p.m. on Feb. 4, 2012, during a fight in the commons area of a living unit in the penitentiary’s West Complex that houses high-risk inmates.

Bailey reportedly had confronted Rivas and Valdez — who were armed with handmade, sharpened objects — and ordered them to drop their weapons.

Valdez stabbed at Bailey in the head and neck area. However, the shank struck a metal insignia on Bailey’s uniform near his neck.

Rivas then allegedly attacked Bailey, who was on the floor by this time, and stabbed him several times in the chest with a sharpened toothbrush and punched him in the ribs.

But Bailey suffered only bumps and bruises, reportedly because his memo pad prevented the toothbrush from penetrating his body.

Valdez was charged with custodial assault and was convicted by a jury at a trial in May.

He later was sentenced to a five-year prison term, which he will serve should he for any reason be spared his three-strikes sentence of life without parole for assaults in Yakima County in the 1980s and ’90s.

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

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