ROCKLAND, Maine — A 34-year-old Maine State Prison inmate with a lengthy history of violent offenses both within and outside the prison was sentenced Friday to an additional eight years behind bars.
But the eight additional years given to Richard Stahursky was less than the maximum sentence the inmate asked the judge to impose.
A jury on Tuesday convicted Stahursky of assault on a corrections officer but acquitted him of criminal threatening.
The prosecution had asked for eight years, but Stahursky told Justice Jeffrey Hjelm that he wanted the maximum of 10 years imposed. He told Justice Hjelm that he took full responsibility for the incident.
Hjelm disagreed, saying that Stahursky had not taken responsibility but had blamed the officer. When Stahursky testified on his behalf during the two-day trial that started Monday, he said he had been provoked.
Hjelm said the laws on sentencing did not call for the full 10 years but he acknowledged the seriousness of the offense.
“There is an honor system in the prison. The reality is that prisoners substantially outnumber the officers,” Hjelm said.
He said that while officers were subduing Stahursky during the assault, other prisoners could have taken advantage of the situation.
“This was a very dangerous situation,” the judge said.
Stahursky also is serving a concurrent federal sentence for an armed robbery. Since he has been incarcerated at the state prison he has been convicted of two separate stabbings of inmates and one count of arson for setting a fire in 2004.
With the sentence imposed Friday, Stahursky is expected to serve another 20 years before he is eligible for release.
Testimony during the trial indicated that Stahursky was going to the recreation area when a guard tried to conduct a routine pat-down search. When the prisoner failed to comply with a directive, the prison guard used appropriate force in order for Stahursky to comply, according to corrections officials. At that point, Stahursky turned around and struck the guard. The guard suffered a bruise that produced golf-ball-sized swelling on his head.
Defense attorney Lawrence Frier said Friday at the sentencing hearing that his client acknowledges having anger issues.
Assistant District Attorney Jeffrey Baroody prosecuted the case.