November 19, 2018
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Inmate who assaulted 5-year-old boy gets another 3 years for attacking jail guard

Courtesy of Hancock County Jail
Courtesy of Hancock County Jail
Josef Messer

A Hancock man who was sentenced earlier this year to serve three years in prison for separately assaulting a 5-year-old boy and later a jail guard had another three years tacked onto his sentence on Wednesday.

Josef Messer, 36, was found guilty Wednesday at the end of a day-long jury trial of two counts of assaulting a jail guard in April.

Messer was arrested in June 2016 on charges that he had assaulted the child of a friend earlier that year by wrapping the boy in a blanket, taping the blanket down around the boy’s face to leave his face exposed, and using a belt or bungee cord to secure the boy’s torso and arms and a power cord to secure his feet and legs, causing injuries to the child as he did so.

Two days later, Messer injured the boy again as he held him in a tub of cold water until his core temperature was reduced to 94 degrees Fahrenheit, Hancock County District Attorney Matthew Foster has said. After holding the boy in the cold water, Messer then swung him around by his ankles.

Since his arrest, Messer has established a pattern of assaulting corrections officers, according to Foster and to court records.

According to Foster, when Messer later made his initial appearance in court in June 2016, he had to be pepper sprayed in the courtroom and then later again that same day at the Hancock County Jail. He injured a corrections officer in the scuffle at the jail but apparently was not charged for either incident, Foster said.

In January of this year, Messer again assaulted a guard at Hancock County Jail, where he was still being held on the prior assault charges, according to the Ellsworth American newspaper. Then this past April, three days before he pled guilty to the child assault and the January jail guard assault, he once again assaulted a corrections officer at the jail.

According to court records, after being found guilty Wednesday on two counts stemming from the April assault, he was sentenced to serve three years in prison on those convictions. That sentence will be served consecutively, meaning he will have to spend another three years in prison after finishing his the three-year sentence that he began serving in April.

And he might yet face more time behind bars after that. According to Foster, there still is a class C felony assault on an officer charge pending against Messer, stemming from an incident at the jail in March. If convicted, Messer could face an additional five years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.

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