ROCKLAND, Maine — A 34-year-old Maine State Prison inmate will likely serve additional time behind bars after a Knox County jury found him guilty Tuesday evening of assaulting a corrections officer.
Richard Stahursky, 34, was convicted of assault on a corrections officer but acquitted of criminal threatening. The jury deliberated for about three hours before returning their verdict.
Sentencing is scheduled for Friday.
Stahursky is serving a sentence at the Maine State Prison for elevated aggravated assault from 2011 in Knox County. His expected release date had been July 2019.
In closing arguments made Tuesday afternoon, Assistant Knox County District Attorney Jeffrey Baroody said this was a case of an inmate who was looking to provoke an incident.
The incident occurred when Stahursky was going to the recreation area and a guard conducted a routine pat-down search, the prosecutor said. When the prisoner failed to comply with a directive, the prison guard used appropriate force in order for Stahursky to comply. At that point, Stahursky turned around and struck the guard, the prosecutor told the jury.
The guard suffered a bruise that produced golf-ball-size swelling on his head, the prosecutor said.
Defense attorney Lawrence Frier countered in his closing argument, however, that Stahursky reacted to excessive force. His client does not contest that he struck the officer but did it only after Stahurksy’s head was slammed into a wall after he complained when the guard tossed his belongings, including inhalers for breathing problems, on the floor.
Frier said Stahursky suffered bruises on the back of his arm from the excessive force used but the prison staff refused to photograph his injuries.
“He is seeking justice,” Frier said and the only way to get justice was for an acquittal on the charges.
Baroody said, however, that this was not a case of officer brutality but instead was about a prisoner frustrated that he was being delayed in getting to the recreation area.
The jury trial lasted two days. Justice Jeffrey Hjelm presided over the trial.