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Inmate gets 12 to life for prison assault on officers

A state prison inmate serving a sentence of 12 years to life for assaulting a person on a New York subway has added two more 12-years-to-life sentences to his calendar.

Elijah Bell, 52, had waited since March to hear his sentence from State Supreme Court Justice Russell P. Buscaglia. In his trial nine months ago, jurors acquitted Bell of the charge of attempted assault of an officer, but found him guilty of assault with intent to cause physical injury to an officer and possessions of dangerous contraband -- a small wire shank.

Bell was being held at the Wende Correctional Facility for a 2005 conviction for the subway stabbing. He was accused of attacking officers in June 2014 when they tried to get him to leave his cell for an exam in the prison medical unit.

Officers and Bell gave different versions of the incident on the witness stand, with officers accusing the inmate of failing to follow directions and the inmate saying he just wanted to be left alone.

Bell said he was “set up” and he never tried to harm anyone.

Jurors found Bell guilty of kicking the corrections officers but agreed that he didn’t swing the shank at them. They did find him guilty of having the shank.

Before he was charged in the 2014 incident, Bell would have been eligible for parole in March 2015 for his conviction for the subway stabbing. He has since been moved to another correctional facility and his next parole hearing is scheduled for February.

Buscaglia sentenced Bell to terms of 12 years to life on each of the assault charges and two to four years for possessing the contraband. He ordered the sentences to run concurrently with one another and consecutive to his current sentence.

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