Aggravated Assault In Rhode Island Prison System

Report: Wyatt official may have destroyed evidence

Simple assault and battery are both misdemeanors in the state of Rhode Island. However, if the assault was inflicted on an executive officer, or if the victim sustained serious bodily injury, this can be enhanced to a felony assault.

Recent Assault Case in Rhode Island

A Target 12 Investigator has confirmed recent reports that a Wyatt prisoner, Christopher Morales,  had indeed assaulted Lieutenant Belford, which caused him to suffer long-lasting complications.  The assault allegations were initially disregarded by U.S. Marshals and the managerial administrators of the Wyatt Detention Center. Nevertheless, the case was brought to the State Police and the Department of Attorney General, who dug deeper into these allegations made by Lieutenant Belford.

The  report revealed that video footage of the incident was erased by chief of security at Wyatt Detention Center – Major Christopher Coburn. This was due in part to the Coburn disregarding prison policy – which states that prisoners’ hands should be handcuffed from behind. Belford was instead ordered to handcuff Morales, while placing the prisoner’s hands in front of him.

Where’s The Justice?

Morales was found guilty under two counts of felony assault in January 2013, and attorney John Grasso was instrumental in bringing justice to Lieutenant Belford’s case.

The well-reputed RI attorney collaborated with investigators to uncover circumstantial evidence that worked in Belford’s favor.  This circumstantial evidence includes interviews from eyewitnesses; surveillance video from the same Wyatt Detention Center; as well as the fact that this mystery videotape was destroyed so close to the incident.

“Lt. Belford is hopeful that this incident will result in further investigation that will ultimately answer the question that has troubled him since his assault – why neither the U.S. Marshals nor Wyatt administrators took the initiative to investigate this criminal wrongdoing after one of their uniformed officers was violently assaulted in the line of duty,” Grasso said in an email.

Source: WPRI.com — Report: Wyatt official may have destroyed evidence

Penalties for Rhode Island Assault

Simple Assault and Battery is usually penalized by up to one year in prison, and up to one thousand in fines. When the victim suffers serious bodily injury, these penalties are usually enhanced to a felony assault charge, which carries the possibility of serving up to 20 years in prison.

Christopher Morales was scheduled to be released this January 2013, after completing sentencing on a separate case. He’s being detained in Pennsylvania, and is awaiting sentencing for this current RI assault case.

Legal Defense for Assault Victims

The Rhode Island Law Offices of John R. Grasso are well-versed in handling all types of assault and battery cases. As demonstrated in the case above, Mr. Grasso will fight to uncover the evidence, launch an independent investigation, and present the best winning arguments in court. If you or someone you know has been assaulted, contact the Island Law Offices at 401-272-4001 right away.


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