Inmate pleads guilty to assaulting officers

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WALLA WALLA — A Washington State Penitentiary inmate has pleaded guilty to assaulting three correctional officers in December.

Marco J. Rodriguez, 27, entered guilty pleas Tuesday in Superior Court to three counts of custodial assault.

He faces a standard-range penalty of an additional year-and-a-day to 16 months in prison when he’s sentenced later. In a plea agreement, the defense and prosecution are jointly recommending a 15-month term.

He currently is serving until at least April 2028 for committing two first-degree assaults in King County in 2005.

Rodriguez initially faced charges of second-degree assault, prison riot and two counts of custodial assault for the December attacks on the penitentiary officers. But the prosecution agreed to reduce the case in exchange for his guilty pleas.

Two co-defendants — inmates Luis A. Rangel and Joshua S. Perez — are awaiting trial on the initial charges Rodriguez faced.

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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