Inmate receives five-year sentence in assault on officer

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WALLA WALLA — A second Washington State Penitentiary inmate has been sentenced for assaulting three correctional officers in December.

Joshua S. Perez, 27, will serve five years in prison for the attacks.

He faced a standard-range penalty of 4 1/4 to 5 years based on his criminal history that includes 17 felonies.

In handing down the maximum term Monday afternoon, Superior Court Judge Scott Wolfram went along with a prosecution recommendation based on the severity of the crimes. The new sentence will be served after Perez completes his current 7 1/2-year term imposed in 2010 in Yakima County for two counts of second-degree assault there.

Wolfram also placed Perez on a year of community custody, a form of probation, after his release and ordered him to pay a total of $14,406 in various costs and fees, including $12,648 in restitution.

Before the sentence was imposed, Perez’s attorney, Andrea Burkhart, asked that he be handed 4 1/4 years, the low end of the range, in the interest of efficiency and utility. She said Perez already is serving an “extended” period of time for the Yakima County crimes and was subjected to administrative sanctions at the prison for the assaults on the correctional officers.

Perez pleaded guilty Aug. 12 to the three counts of custodial assault.

A co-defendant, Marco J. Rodriguez, was sentenced the same day to 15 months after pleading guilty earlier to identical charges. He has less criminal history so faced a lower standard range.

Rodriguez currently is serving until at least April 2028 for committing two first-degree assaults in King County in 2005. The new 15-month sentence will begin afterward.

Luis A. Rangel, a third 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, 27, and Perez 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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