Atwater inmates get additional 20 years for attack on officer at federal penitentiary

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

Two inmates were sentenced Monday for assaulting a federal officer who was working teacher at a federal penitentiary in Atwater.

The men, 37-year-old Jonathan Mota and 27-year-old Dominic Adams, each received the maximum sentence of 20 years, U.S. Attorney McGregor W. Scott announced in a news release.

Mota was sentenced for attempting to kill the federal officer and Adams was sentenced for assault on the officer. Both will serve the time consecutive to their current sentences, followed by three-year of supervised released, Scott said.

The sentences are related to a 2017 incident in which Mota, Adams and four other inmates repeatedly stabbed the officer with homemade knives. They also kicked and beat the officer, who was working as a teacher at the time.

According to court documents, on the day of the attack, Mota and Eric Chiago, 28, entered the copy room where the officer was making copies and repeatedly stabbed him. William Roe Acevedo, 33; Michael Martin, 30; Joey Thomas, 26; and Adams stationed themselves outside the room.

The officer was able to free himself and escape down the hallway, but the six defendants tackled him and wrestled him to the floor where they repeatedly kicked, punched and stabbed him. Adams and Thomas also assaulted an officer who was responding to the attack, the release said.

The four other inmates 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.