The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

February 25, 2013

Video of prison assault released

By Francis Scarcella
The Daily Item

—  COAL TOWNSHIP - A surveillance video clip showing a 2010 scuffle at the State Correctional Institution at Coal Township has been released publicly following a Northumberland County assault trial last week.

Deshaun Jamison, of York, now an inmate at Northumberland County Prison, represented himself and presented his case over the course of a two-day trial last week.

After more than 20 hours of testimony, the 22-year-old, who lacks a high school diploma, convinced a jury to acquit him of five of six charges, including one felony charge that could have resulted in extending his sentence up to 14 years. He was convicted of aggravated assault, a felony.

“I took on the Northumberland County district attorney’s office,” Jamison said after the verdict, “and I won.”

Jamison told the jury that he was defending himself when being attacked by guards.

The Daily Item has exclusive video at www.dailyitem.com that shows the incident.

Viewers will see the inside of the State Correctional Institution at Coal Township in 2010. Jamison was housed in the Restrictive Housing Unit, where inmates are locked in cells 23 of 24 hours a day.

Jamison convinced the jury he was being targeted by guards and was afraid for his life, so he struck two officers in self-defense.

The video shows Jamison’s cell, the last cell on the left of the screen, “pop” open.

No other cell door was opened, and Jamison and three inmates testified it was not normal procedure to just “pop” a cell door open.

Viewers will see a guard checking one cell door and then moving directly toward Jamison’s cell, where the inmate bursts through the door and attacks the guard.

Jamison then sees several other guards coming his way, and he lunges toward one and strikes him.

That was the punch that resulted in the guilty verdict on the felony assault charge, a conviction that could result in an additional one to seven years in prison.

Jamison was charged by state police at Stonington with two felony counts of aggravated assault and two of attempted aggravated assault. He was also charged with two misdemeanor counts of simple assault after the two guards were taken to a hospital following the incident.

He was found guilty of one of the aggravated assaults, a decision for which some jurors apologized.

Jamsion has been in prison since he was 15 after he was arrested and convicted of being involved in a high-speed chase in York County that resulted in a fatality. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison.

Jamison will be sentenced on the aggravated assault conviction in 90 days.

Assistant District Attorney Michael Toomey said he was not disappointed in getting only one felony conviction but said he was surprised by the verdict.

n Email comments to fscarcella@dailyitem.com.