Wausau man accused in jail attack gets plea deal - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Wausau man accused in jail attack gets plea deal

WAUSAU (WAOW) - The 21-year-old Wausau man accused of attacking two jailers, one critically, more than a year ago was convicted of three felonies Friday. The attack led to an independent review of the Marathon County Jail.

In a plea deal that resolved five different cases, Fredrick Morris pleaded no contest to aggravated battery with intent to harm and two counts of battery by a prisoner in the jailhouse attack, according to online court records.

Prosecutors agreed to dismiss mostly misdemeanors and a felony drug charge in the other unrelated cases, the records said. Morris is to be sentenced Sept. 19.

Morris originally pleaded insanity to the felonies in the jailhouse attack but later withdrew that plea.

Prosecutors say Morris became combative March 27, 2013, during a meal-time incident at the downtown jail and he punched jailers Denny Woodward, 38, and Julie Christensen, 36.

Christensen was in a coma and in critical condition for several days after the incident and spent months in the hospital. She has since returned to work at the sheriff's department.

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

The jailhouse attack prompted the appointment of a five-member community panel that studied issues such as overcrowding, staffing, security and equipment at the jail and recommended some changes.

Then-Sheriff Randy Hoenisch retired just four days before the attack.

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