- 22-year-old Fredrick Morris will spend more than 18 years in prison for punching, and nearly killing, a Marathon County Jail employee in 2014. Morris was sentenced in Marathon County Court Friday.
Julie Christensen was critically injured and admitted to the hospital after the attack. Prosecutor Kenneth Heimerman said her life was saved because of the work of medical officials shortly after the attack.
Christensen didn't attend the sentencing in Wausau, but Heimerman read a letter from Christenson to the court about how difficult it has been after the attack.
"My life will never be the same," Christensen said in a letter read to the court. "Every aspect of my life will be altered by this event."
Heimerman said Christensen might have permanent brain damage and issues with nerves.
The punch happened after a guard had told Morris to go to his cell. They'd have to use force if he didn't. That's when Morris threw the punch. After, he told police it wouldn't of happened if the guard simply didn't use the phrase "use force."
"That's what his mind thinks," Heimerman said. "That's how this crime would have been prevented? Isn't that scary? Aren't these comments some of the scariest stuff you have heard come out of somebodies mouth."
According to Police reports, Morris told officers the assault had nothing to do with Christenson, but Morris said the punch was an impulse because he felt disrespected.
"He said he would not stand for being disrespected on the street," Heimerman said. "So why should he stand for it when he was in jail."
Morris was in jail for drugs. He also faced gun and battery charges from separate cases. Those charges were both read into court and attributed to the sentencing for Morris. His attorney John Wallace argued for leniency because of the difficult childhood Morris went through in Chicago.
"Being exposed to gangs at age eight, (that's ) negative, so he is a product of America, that is the American culture," Wallace said.
Prosecutors say Morris told fellow inmates he wanted to bring Chicago's Cook County mentality to the Marathon County Jail, but Judge Michael Moran doesn't want that to happen.
"Mr. Wallace, I'm not ready to hold up the white flag, if that is the way the country is headed, then I am not ready to go there, and I will kick and scream before we do, I can guarantee you that," Moran said.
Meanwhile, Morris sat quietly asking desperately for rehab over prison.
"I'm sorry for what happened to both of the guards. I am deeply sorry. I know I have affected their families, and I know I have affected my family," Morris said.
Morris' mother emotionally pled for less than a maximum sentence. She says she's battling health issues and might not be around when her son gets out.
"I have all kinds of things going on with me, and I want my baby to come home," Morris' mother said.
Judge Moran didn't think there was any other option besides a maximum sentence.
"I think you are impulsive, I think you are scary, and I think that the DA's words are exactly correct, that frankly you're a loaded gun ready to go off."
Morris will serve 18 years in prison after getting more than 500 days of credit for time served in jail. He'll also have nine years of extended supervision.