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Murder charge dismissed against inmate in fatal stabbing at Attica

Faced with a lack of cooperation from inmate witnesses, a Wyoming County judge has dismissed a murder charge against a man accused of taking part in a fatal stabbing two years ago at Attica Correctional Facility.

Bruce Battle, 33, was one of three inmates accused of killing inmate Rodney Calloway on May 8, 2015. According to Wyoming County District Attorney Donald O’Geen, other inmates who were eyewitnesses to the crime either recanted their previous testimony or refused to answer questions about Battle’s role in the stabbing.

Calloway was in the first year of a 20-year sentence for assault and robbery out of Kings County. He was stabbed once in the heart during what investigators believe was a planned attack during recreational time in the prison’s “A” yard. Authorities estimate there were about 200 inmates in the yard at the time Calloway was killed.

After a lengthy investigation, Battle and co-defendants Shawn Avery, 35, and Devin Gray, 22, were each indicted in March 2016 on charges of second-degree murder and conspiracy.

Gray, serving a 15-year sentence for weapons possession, pleaded guilty on Sept. 7 to first-degree manslaughter and was sentenced by Judge Michael M. Mohun to 10 years in prison plus five years post-release supervision, to be served after he completes his current prison term.

Also on Sept. 7, Avery, who is from Queens and already is serving a sentence for manslaughter, pleaded guilty to attempted manslaughter and was sentenced to eights years in prison plus five years post-release supervision, also to follow his current prison term.

But on May 2, Mohun ordered that the indictment against Battle be dismissed because of the lack of witnesses.

O’Geen said in a statement that his office did not oppose the dismissal of the charges, saying that “the overwhelming majority of inmates refused to cooperate from the beginning.”

O’Geen also said that, since the stabbing, video cameras have been installed in the yards at Attica.

“If video had been in Attica Yard at the time of the incident, we would not have had to rely solely on the testimony of inmate witnesses in the case against Mr. Battle,” O’Geen said.

Battle began serving a 13-year sentence for burglary in 2008.

Avery, Gray and Battle have been transferred from Attica to three other correctional facilities.

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