A federal inmate convicted of several convenience store robberies decided to strangle someone — his target was the first black prison guard he could lay his hands on.
But his attempt failed and on Wednesday Mr. Morgan Siler, who was scheduled to be released in 18 months, was sentenced to an additional 20 years in prison for the attack, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Mr. Siler, 28, of Portsmouth, Va., was being temporarily held at the federal penitentiary in Atlanta in June 2008 when he attacked the corrections officer.
He had been transported to Atlanta from a lockup in Florida and was awaiting a transfer to a prison in Virginia where he was convicted for the robberies.
On the morning of June 2, 2008, a corrections officer, who was not identified, was opening the prison cell doors to let the inmates out to get their breakfasts when he was attacked, prosecutors said.
“After the officer opened Siler’s cell door, and he was moving toward the next cell door to unlock it, Siler came up from behind the officer, threw a handmade rope around the officer’s neck, and started to strangle him,” according to court records.
The officer attempted to resist but was unsuccessful.
For about 35 seconds Mr. Siler strangled the inmate before another officer, who had seen what was happening, ran to help.
Then the corrections officer was freed from Mr. Siler’s grip.
“The evidence showed that Siler and the corrections officer had never met each other before and that Siler said that he was going to attack the first African-American guard that he saw that day,” the records show.
Mr. Siler, who is white, would have been released from prison in February 2014 on the robbery conviction. He was convicted on June 1 for attacking the African-American guard and his 20-year sentence for the crime will begin after he serves out his current sentence.
“Here, the defendant committed a premeditated and unprovoked attack on a corrections officer,” U.S. Attorney Mrs. Sally Quillian Yates said. “His actions have earned him a significantly more time in prison.”