Inmate in jail attack withdraws insanity pleas - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Inmate in jail attack withdraws insanity pleas

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WAUSAU (WAOW) - The 21-year-old Wausau man accused of attacking two jailers, one critically, more than a year ago withdrew his insanity pleas to three felonies Monday, according to online court records.

The attack led to an independent review of the Marathon County Jail.

Fredrick Morris had 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.

Morris withdrew the insanity pleas during a hearing regarding five court cases pending against him and a possible plea deal, Marathon County court records said.

Attorneys told Circuit Judge Michael Moran that no plea deal was reached, clearing the way for the July 8 start of a three-day trial on the three felony counts in the jail attack, court records said.

Prosecutors say Morris became combative March 27, 2013, during a meal-time incident at the downtown jail and he punched jailers Denny Woodward and Julie Christensen.

Christensen was in a coma and in critical condition for days after the incident but has returned to work. 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.

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

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