Wausau man accused in jail attack: I'm insane - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Wausau man accused in jail attack: I'm insane

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WAUSAU (WAOW) -

The 20-year-old Wausau man accused of attacking two jailers, one critically, entered insanity pleas to three felonies during a brief court appearance Monday. The attack led to an independent review of the Marathon County Jail.

Fredrick Morris pleaded not guilty and not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect to one count of aggravated battery with intent to harm and two counts of battery by a prisoner, according to online court records. The hearing took two minutes.

Marathon County Circuit Judge Greg Grau ordered that a psychiatrist be appointed to evaluate Morris, court records say.

No trial date was immediately set, but Grau scheduled a pretrial conference for June 7.

Days after the attack, Morris' mother told Newsline 9 that her son suffers from a mental illness and needs to be on medication.

Prosecutors say Morris, who is jailed on $250,000 cash bond, became combative March 27 during an meal-time incident at the downtown jail and he punched jailers Denney Woodward, 38, and Julie Christensen, 36.

Christensen was in a coma and in critical condition for several days after the incident. Her family requested that Aspirus Hospital release no subsequent updates, and a hospital spokesman referred all questions about Christensen on Monday to the sheriff's department. Chief Deputy Scott Parks declined to elaborate on her condition, but said Christensen was still "under medical care."

Woodward returned to work shortly after the incident and has been cited for his role in helping Christensen.

The jailhouse attack prompted a review of jail procedures and the appointment of a five-member community panel to study such issues as overcrowding, staffing, security and equipment. The group is to make recommendations to a new sheriff who Gov. Scott Walker will appoint to replace Sheriff Randy Hoenisch, who retired just four days before the attack.

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