A federal inmate was found not guilty of assaulting another inmate two years ago in a prison in South Carolina.
A federal jury in downtown Charleston acquitted Joseph Williamson, 34, of Augusta, Ga. on Monday.
Williamson had been charged with assault with serious bodily injury. He had been accused of assaulting and injuring Lemuel Tate, another inmate.
A witness testified during the trial that Tate didn't do anything to provoke the attack, according to prosecutors.
Williamson's attorney, Christopher W. Adams, however, argued Williamson fought back in self-defense.
"When you represent somebody who's an inmate, you cant help but wonder if that defendant could get a fair day in court," Adams said. "I'm just so honored by these jurors they could look past his circumstances and give him an honest result."
Tate was injured to the point he couldn't remember what happened, prosecutors said.
Tate spent about three weeks in the hospital with facial fractures, a broken jaw and was in a coma, according to Assistant U.S. Attorney Nathan Williams, one of the prosecutors.
Williams said they respect the jury's decision and the consideration they gave the case.
The incident occurred on Feb. 7, 2012, while Tate and Williamson were incarcerated at a federal correctional institution in Estil.
At the time of the incident, Williamson was serving a prison sentence for a felon in possession of a firearm conviction, according to Adams.
Williamson testified during his trial that he and Tate had bad blood between them.
The two had been in an argument during the Super Bowl Sunday prior to the incident, Adams said.
After lunch while walking in the day room of the prison, Williamson and Tate argued, according to Adams.
The argument escalated and Adams said Tate reached for Williamson's throat.
Williamson then punched Tate until Tate dropped to the ground, Adams said.
Tate, 50, was released from prison in April 2014.
Reach Natalie Caula Hauff at 937-5594 or Twitter.com/ncaula.
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