Inmate pleads guilty to assault of inmate

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WALLA WALLA — A Washington State Penitentiary inmate pleaded guilty and was sentenced Wednesday for repeatedly stabbing a fellow prisoner at the institution last summer.

Eric L. Lowe, 25, entered the guilty plea to a reduced charge of third-degree assault.

Then Walla Walla County Superior Court Judge Scott Wolfram sentenced Lowe to four years and two months. The maximum possible for the crime is five years.

The time will be served after he completes his current stint of at least 52 more years for murder, burglary and assault in Snohomish County in 2010.

Officials said Lowe and co-defendant Wilbur T. Weeks, 44, used weapons fashioned from a broken radio handle to stab inmate Gary R. Bau while they were in the small yard of a housing unit at the penitentiary on July 29.

Bau reportedly was attacked from behind as he was sitting at a table playing cards.

Weeks hit Bau on the head numerous times, then Lowe joined in the assault, according to a police report filed in court.

Bau suffered cuts and bruises on his head and body, in addition to eye damage, officials said. He was treated at Providence St. Mary Medical Center, then transferred to the prison hospital.

Authorities reportedly found a radio that was missing its handle in Lowe’s cell.

“The attack against Bau by Weeks and Lowe was motivated by hate,” partly because Bau is a practicing Muslim, the police report says.

Lowe initially was charged with first-degree assault and malicious harassment, but the case was reduced in exchange for his guilty plea Wednesday.

Weeks is awaiting trial on the initial charges.

He currently is serving a sentence until at least 2039 for a 2010 murder in Whatcom County.

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