Lima man who allegedly attacked jailer headed to trial

LIMA — An inmate at the Allen County jail charged with felonious assault for his alleged attack on a corrections officer made an appearance in Allen County Common Pleas Court on Thursday.

Wearing a red jail-issued jumpsuit that identifies him as a potential threat to jail staff and sporting shackles around his ankles, Fernando Johnson, 39, of Lima, formally rejected a plea offer extended by prosecutors that would cap his potential prison time at four years.

Johnson was indicted by a grand jury in March on a single count of felonious assault, a felony of the second degree.

Assistant Allen County Prosecuting Attorney Cecely Stewart said the state previously proposed a two-pronged possible resolution to the case: a four-year prison sentence for the assurance that the state would remain silent at sentencing.

Johnson rejected the offer and is scheduled to stand trial starting May 13.

According to court records, a corrections officer inside the Allen County jail was assisting with the distribution of medication to inmates on the morning of Jan. 21 when Johnson asked for a razor. According to the report, he received the razor then stated, “I’m gonna do anything I want,” raising suspicions that he would harm himself or others.

Johnson was ordered to return the razor. He refused to comply, and when the corrections officer approached, Johnson threw the razor and struck the jailer with a closed fist, causing the officer to fall to the floor and strike his head on a concrete shower step, according to court documents.

Johnson reportedly is seen on video footage taken from inside the jail as he repeatedly strikes the victim’s head against the concrete floor.

Johnson, through attorney Steve Chamberlain of the Allen County Public Defenders Office, submitted a request to Judge Terri Kohlrieser to be moved from the Allen County jail to another detention facility. Johnson said he feared for his safety while housed in the local jail.

Kohlrieser said she would “look into” that possibility.