Crime

Atwater inmates beat, stabbed prison teacher, DOJ says. They were sentenced in court

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Witnessing a crime and reporting it can be just as frightening as being the victim of a crime. Here’s what you should do if you witness illegal activity.

Two men received an additional 20 years in prison for their roles in the attack on a federal corrections officer in U.S. Penitentiary Atwater, according to a news release.

Johnathan Mota, 37, and 27-year-old Dominic Adams were sentenced on Monday in a federal court in Fresno by Chief U.S. District Judge Lawrence J. O’Neill.

On Oct. 6, 2017, Mota, Adams and four other inmates stabbed and beat the prison teacher, investigators said. Mota was sentenced for attempting to kill a federal officer, and Adams was sentenced for assault on a federal officer.

Mota and Eric Chiago, 28, entered a room in the prison where the teacher was making copies and repeatedly stabbed him with makeshift knives, according to the release. William Roe Acevedo, 33; Michael Martin, 30; Joey Thomas, 26; and Adams stationed themselves outside the room.

The victim managed to get away, briefly escaping down a hallway, but the six inmates tackled him and repeatedly stabbed, kicked and punched him. Adams and Thomas also assaulted an officer who rushed over to break up the attack, prosecutors said.

The sentences will be served consecutively to their prior convictions, the release said, and will be followed by three years of supervised release.

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

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Reporter Thaddeus Miller has covered cities in the central San Joaquin Valley since 2010, writing about everything from breaking news to government and police accountability. A native of Fresno, he joined the Fresno Bee in 2019 after time in Merced and Los Banos.
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