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Inmate pleads guilty in assault, standoff at Pa. prison

May 11, 2006|by DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - A Franklin County Prison inmate who threatened another with a piece of broken glass while holding off correctional officers for about 45 minutes last month pleaded guilty Monday in Franklin County Court to assault by a prisoner.

Joseph Roy Martin, 19, of McConnellsburg, Pa., also pleaded guilty to an unrelated charge of illegal possession of a firearm. Judge John R. Walker set his sentencing for June 14.

Pennsylvania State Police said Martin became upset at supper on April 6 when he took two cookies instead of the one he was allowed. Martin later returned to his cell, broke the glass cover on the overhead light and held it to the throat of cellmate Bradley Wilt.

Police said Martin held Wilt against his will for about 45 minutes, and at one point used the glass to cut Wilt's arm during the standoff with correctional officers, which began about 6:30 p.m.

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Martin spoke with Warden John Wetzel and eventually released Wilt, according to the affidavit of probable cause. Later interviewed by police, Martin told them he was "upset and tired of the way the COs (correctional officers) were treating him and he decided to take a stand," the affidavit stated.

Walker asked Martin why he assaulted his cellmate.

"We were having problems," Martin replied.

"You don't look that dumb ... Was it worth doing more time?" Walker said.

Martin was charged with assault by a prisoner, a second-degree felony with a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison. Charges of unlawful restraint, simple assault and terroristic threats were dismissed as a result of the plea agreement.

The firearms charge related to a 9 mm handgun Martin had gotten from the boyfriend of its owner, police said. Martin was staying at an address on Black Gap Road in Greene Township on Oct. 9, 2004, when he purchased the stolen gun for "a large chunk of crack cocaine," police said.

Martin also had been charged with possession of crack cocaine with intent to deliver for allegedly being found with 95 individually packaged pieces of the drug when he was stopped in Greenvillage, Pa., on Dec. 1, 2004. However, that charge was dismissed as part of his overall plea agreement, Assistant District Attorney T.R. Williams said.

In addition to the charges he pleaded guilty to on Monday, Martin is awaiting sentencing on federal drug charges, according to prison records.

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