VPRJ Officer Assault, Escape Attempt Case Heads to Grand Jury

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Kendell Serrette's mug shot from 2014 (Courtesy of VPRJ)
Kendell Serrette’s mug shot from 2014 (Courtesy of VPRJ)

The case against a Virginia Peninsula Regional Jail inmate accused of attacking a correctional officer on Aug. 29 is moving on to a grand jury.

Three charges – felonious assault, attempted escape and assaulting a correctional officer – against Kendell Serrette, 43, of Newport News, moved forward. A fourth charge – conspiracy to assault a correctional facility – was dismissed because Williamsburg-James City County District Court Judge Colleen Killilea said it lacked probable cause.

The decision to move the case to the grand jury came after testimony from the correctional officer who said he was attacked and Sgt. Ronald Roth, who interviewed Serrette after the incident.

The victim testified he had been conducting counts to confirm the inmates were inside of their cells after 11 p.m. Aug. 29 when he “suddenly felt someone come toward him from behind.”

He testified Serrette put his arm around his shoulders and held an object the victim called a “shank” to his throat.

A shank can be a household object like a toothbrush that is sharpened for protection or use as a weapon. The victim said he believed the object was “metal at the end.”

Serrette allegedly told the victim not to move or he would “stick” him with the object. The victim was able to grab Serrette and perform a defensive tactic but alleged Serrette still “tried to get him.”

The victim said he attempted to get the object away from Serrette but said Serrette was able to inflict puncture wounds on his elbow. Those wounds were minor and treated with an antibiotic, he said.

He said he was able to stop Serrette after he almost fell down a staircase—the incident took place on the second level of cells—and was then able to call for backup.

After the incident, the victim said he returned to Serrette’s cell and said he saw a dummy made to look like a person sleeping in Serrette’s bed.

The victim said a dummy was also found in the cell of Raekwon Lamont Jones, 18, of Williamsburg, who is believed to be an accomplice in the attempted escape.

Roth testified Serrette told him he was in the shower during the count. During the interview, Roth testified that Serrette made a gesture but did not specify an object that he put to the victim’s throat.

As for an objective, Serrette allegedly told Roth there were “problems with his family” and he was “trying to get out.”

Serrette is currently serving a two-year sentence for weapons charges, destruction of property and a probation violation. He was sentenced on those charges last June.

Jones faces one count of prisoner escape and two counts of assaulting a correctional officer. His trial is set for 9 a.m. Feb. 17.

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