Pollock inmate who attempted to kill two staff members gets 20 years


United States Attorney David C. Joseph announced that an inmate originally from California was sentenced to 240 months in prison for attempting to kill two staff members at the U.S. Penitentiary in Pollock.

Charles Lee White, 47, formerly from Vallejo, Calif., was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Dee D. Drell on two counts of attempted murder of a federal employee. He was also sentenced to three years of supervised release. During a three-day trial that ended March 28, evidence admitted showed White and another inmate attacked two prison staff members Jan. 13, 2017.

The staff members were conducting a health and welfare inspection of a housing unit when they noticed an inmate’s cell had a large surplus of commissary items and contraband items. The staff members decided to do a more detailed search of the cell, and were in the process of searching, when one inmate, a member of the California Crips, confronted them. The staff members told the inmate to leave. He left for a while and then confronted the staff members a second time. Both staff members came out of the cell with the first staff member backing out of the cell while facing the inmate who had assumed a fighting stance and was refusing commands from staff.

The second staff member was behind the inmate. While the first staff member was facing the inmate, White, also a California Crip, snuck up from behind, and punched the first staff member in the back of the head knocking him to the ground. White then pulled a homemade weapon, otherwise known as a shank, and stabbed the first staff member multiple times in the torso, arm and shoulder while saying he was going to kill him. The other inmate attacked the second staff member punching and biting him. After stabbing the first staff member, White stabbed the second staff member while he was struggling with the other inmate. White stabbed the second staff member in the torso and back and stabbed the other inmate in the arm.

At this point, other staff responded and sprayed White with pepper spray. White refused to surrender and continued to move around the unit with the shank in his hand. White returned to the second staff member and stabbed him again. Additional staff responded, gave commands to surrender and sprayed both inmates with pepper spray after the commands were ignored. Both inmates were finally detained and the shank was recovered as evidence. The inmates were taken to medical and assessed for injuries, which White had none. The other inmate refused medical treatment from the Pollock medical staff. The two staff members were transported to the emergency room at a local hospital to assess and treat their injuries and survived.

White is already serving a life sentence for a RICO conviction that included counts of murder and attempted murder. The FBI and the U.S. Bureau of Prisons conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Mike O’Mara prosecuted the case.