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Acting Pro Se, NJ Prisoner Beats Charges of Spitting on Guard

A New Jersey jury took only three hours to declare William Victor not guilty of spitting on a Northumberland County Prison (NCP) guard in 2003. NCP's warden called the verdict ridiculous." Considering Victor proceeded through trial representing himself, incredible is a more fitting adjective.

Charged with aggravated harassment by a prisoner, Victor remained calm during trial while questioning witnesses. He showed little emotion when the jury foreman read the not guilty verdict.

On the opening day of trial, guard Bernard Bogus, 60, testified he pointed a flashlight into Victor's cell shortly before midnight. After noticing Victor was not on the top bunk, a light search of the cell found him sitting on the toilet.

After the light was placed on him, Victor allegedly told Bogus, if you don't get that fucking flashlight out of my face, I'll spit in your face." Bogus responded by telling Victor he was just doing his job of making sure he was safe. Victor then stood up and allegedly spit on Bogus' face and shirt.

The prosecution also brought in Warden Ralph Rick" Reish, guard Kerri DeCosta, and Sgt. Theresa Noworski to testify. Of course, there was also a jail house snitch, former county prisoner Frank Nahodil, Jr. of Shamokin. None all these witnesses, however, actually saw Victor spit on Bogus.
After its March 18, 2005, verdict, the jury cited the lack of DNA evidence and inconsistencies in testimony to support its unanimous verdict. There just wasn't enough evidence for us to find him guilty. The DNA just wasn't there and that certainly hurt the case," said juror Angel Medina.

Victor has the opportunity to duplicate his pro se victory. He is scheduled to stand trial on multiple charges related to his throwing of a courtroom speaker at Northumberland County Chief Public Defender Edward Greco, who suffered a minor hand injury from the incident. At the recent trial, Judge Robert B. Sacavage ordered the microphone at the defense table taped to the table. Both Victor and the prosecutor had to remain seated during their opening and closing summations.

Victor should consider himself fortunate. As PLN has previously reported, other prisoners convicted of spitting on a guard have received sentences that range from a year to life in prison.


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