Judge withholds finding on assault charge for VPRJ corrections officer

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The Williamsburg-James City County Courthouse. (Staff Photo)
The Williamsburg-James City County Courthouse. (Staff Photo)

A Virginia Peninsula Regional Jail corrections officer accused of assaulting and strangling an inmate stood trial in Williamsburg-James City County Circuit Court Tuesday.

Vincent Edward Russell, 43, was arrested in July 2014 following an alleged altercation between himself and a 38-year-old male inmate the previous month. He was charged with one count of felony strangulation and one count of misdemeanor assault and battery.

Judge R. Bruce Long presided over Tuesday’s bench trial, which concluded with him finding the evidence was insufficient to prove Russell’s guilt with regard to the strangulation charge, but sufficient enough to find him guilty of assault and battery.

Though Long determined there was enough evidence to find Russell guilty of assault and battery, he opted to withhold making a formal ruling for one year. This means Russell will reappear before the court next June, at which time the judge will take his behavior over the past year into account before issuing a final ruling or sentence.

A criminal complaint filed against Russell in Williamsburg-James City County General District Court states Russell “attempted to trip (the inmate) while walking through the door of intake/release,” then grabbed the inmate with his left hand while opening the door to the property room with his right hand and forced the man inside the room.

Russell then threw the inmate face down on the floor, authorities said.

The corrections officer then punched the detainee in the eye and in the head, cutting his head open, the court document from 2014 states.

A police report said photos were taken of the inmate’s injuries, which include a cut in his hair line; a red, swollen area on his forehead; and red vertical lines on his throat.

The detainee was treated at the jail by a nurse.

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