Atwater inmates beat, stabbed prison teacher, DOJ says. Here’s what the jury said

The United States Penitentiary in Atwater.
SUN-STAR PHOTO BY GEORGE MACDONALD The United States Penitentiary in Atwater. Merced Sun-Star

Two Atwater inmates have been found guilty of attacking a federal officer, according to the Department of Justice.

A federal jury in Fresno convicted Atwater inmate Jonathan Mota, 37, of attempting to kill a federal officer, and Dominic Adams, 27, of assaulting a federal officer, for their roles in a 2017 attack at the federal penitentiary in Atwater, according to U.S. Attorney McGregor W. Scott.

Authorities said Mota and Adams are scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Judge Lawrence J. O’Niel on July 29 and face up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

According to court documents, Mota, Adams, and four other inmates attacked a Federal Bureau of Prisons officer working as a teacher at the federal penitentiary in Atwater on Oct. 6, 2017. The officer was repeatedly kicked, beaten and stabbed with homemade knives by the inmates, according to a Department of Justice news release.

Mota and Eric Chiago, 28, entered a copy room and repeatedly stabbed the officer while he was making copies, according to court records.

Michael Martin, 30, William Roe Acevedo, 33, Joey Thomas, 26, and Adams, stationed themselves outside of the room. When the victim freed himself and escaped down a hallway, the six defendants tackled the officer, wrestled him to the floor and repeatedly punched, kicked and stabbed him. Adams and Thomas also assaulted a separate officer who was responding to the attack, authorities said.

Chiago, Acevedo, Martin and Thomas all pleaded guilty to aggravated assault. Chiago was sentenced to 15 years and eight months in prison, Acevedo was sentenced to 13 years in prison, Martin was sentenced to 12 years and six months in prison and Thomas was sentenced to eight years and one month in prison.