Monroe prisoner attacked ‘to gain respect,’ and victim gives it

EVERETT — An inmate was sentenced to another five years behind bars for an assault at the Monroe Correctional Complex.

The beating happened in 2014. Joshua Kellerman punched another inmate in the face while the two were waiting in line for medicine, court papers said. The victim was knocked unconscious and suffered broken facial bones.

Kellerman, 41, told a corrections officer that he started the fight and “claimed that this was prison and the assault was to gain respect,” court papers said.

The attack was captured on the prison’s surveillance system.

Prosecutors charged Kellerman with second-degree assault. He faced a potential life sentence under the state’s persistent offender law. Kellerman has two previous second-degree assault convictions.

Prosecutors reduced the charge earlier this month after the victim told them he wouldn’t cooperate if it meant sending a man to prison for life.

The defendant had a potential self-defense claim that would have been difficult to counter without the victim’s cooperation, Snohomish County deputy prosecutor Edirin Okoloko said.

Kellerman pleaded guilty to third-degree assault and agreed not to fight a sentence beyond the standard range. Okoloko also insisted that Kellerman serve out his current sentence before he starts doing time for the Monroe assault.

Kellerman was convicted in 2013 of violating no-contact court orders and sentenced to five years in prison.

Superior Court Judge Janice Ellis on Monday handed Kellerman another five-year stint. He is expected to be housed at the Washington State Penitentiary in Walla Walla.

Snohomish County, like many jurisdictions, has pursued fewer third strikes than when the law was first enacted. That’s in large part because the cases are heavily litigated, often as much as an aggravated murder case — the only other charge that can carry a mandatory life sentence.

Diana Hefley: 425-339-3463, Twitter: @dianahefley.

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