LIMA — A 40-year-old man serving a potential life prison sentence was found guilty Monday of assaulting two guards at the Allen Oakwood Correctional Institution nearly two years ago.
Prosecutors say Kent Williams, serving a sentence of 15 years to life for murder out of Cuyahoga County, on June 17, 2017, assaulted the corrections officers at the Lima prison in a dispute over inmate recreation time.
Williams was indicted by an Allen County grand jury more than a year ago on two counts of assault, third-degree felonies, for his attacks on guards Tyler Dunlap and Lindsay (Cramner) McCoy. He elected to have his case heard by Allen County Common Pleas Court Judge Jeffrey Reed in a trial to the court.
McCoy testified that Williams was being housed in the “limited privilege housing” section of ACI on the date in question. That cell block is for inmates who had previously broken prison rules. Prisoners are confined to their cells for 22 hours each day, with mandatory one-hour recreation periods twice daily.
She said on June 17, 2017, Williams and other inmates voiced displeasure that their rec time was cut short and that Williams “became confrontational” with Dunlap.
Williams claimed Dunlap, who was unavailable to testify Monday, began to strike him without provocation when the inmate balked at a premature end to the recreation hour.
Central to the defense’s case was a prison video that showed Williams involved in an altercation with prison guards. But a lapse in the video, determined by the judge to be a three-second gap, failed to show the altercation from its beginning. Williams said the struggle began after he demanded to see a “white shirt” — or prison supervisor — after being denied his full rec time. The inmate said he behaved “very respectfully” to Dunlap and backed against the wall in a non-aggressive posture. Shortly thereafter, Williams said, he was being punched in the face repeatedly by the prison guard and wrestled to the ground. McCoy came to the aid of her partner, and another guard sprayed Williams with pepper spray.
Two other men, inmates at the time, testified Dunlap was the aggressor in the incident. One former inmate said Dunlap “thinks he’s better than everybody” and that authority “goes to his head sometimes.”
Defense Attorney Bill Kluge claimed Williams was merely engaging in self-defense when he struck the prison guards, but Reed said the facts as presented did not bear out that claim. The judge also found the testimony of the former ACI inmates to be “contradictory and not credible.”
Sentencing was set for a later date.
Williams, who began serving his prison term for murder in 1996, has been transferred to the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility in Lucasville.