ATLANTA—A federal inmate who attacked and attempted to strangle a corrections officer at the United States Penitentiary in Atlanta because the officer was African-American was sentenced today by United States District Judge Thomas W Thrash, Jr to serve 20 additional years in federal prison. Morgan Siler, 28, of Portsmouth, Virginia, was convicted of these charges on June 1, 2012, after a trial. “Corrections officers perform a dangerous job,” said United States Attorney Sally Quillian Yates. “Here, the defendant committed a premeditated and unprovoked attack on a corrections officer.
His actions have earned him significantly more time in prison.” Siler was sentenced to 20 years in prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release. According to United States Attorney Yates, the charges, and other information presented in court: Morgan Siler was serving a federal sentence for committing a series of robberies of convenience stores in Virginia. Siler had been held in a federal prison in Florida and had been designated to another federal prison in Virginia. He arrived at the United States Penitentiary in Atlanta on May 22, 2008, and was housed there until he could be transported to Virginia.
In the morning of June 2, 2008, a corrections officer was opening the prison cell doors to let the inmates out to get their breakfasts. After the officer opened Siler’s cell door, and he was moving toward the next cell door to unlock it, Siler came up from behind the officer, threw a handmade rope around the officer’s neck, and started to strangle him. The officer attempted to resist but was unsuccessful. After about 20 seconds, another corrections officer saw what was happening and ran to assist his fellow officer.
Siler continued to attempt to strangle the corrections officer for an additional 15 seconds. Only then did Siler release his grip, and the officer was able to free himself from the rope. The evidence showed that Siler and the corrections officer had never met each other before and that Siler said that he was going to attack the first African-American guard that he saw that day. Siler is white, and the corrections officer is African-American.
Siler would have been released from prison for his robberies in February 2014. The sentence imposed today will start to run at the conclusion of his robbery sentence. This case was investigated by special agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Assistant United States Attorneys Paul R Jones and Kim S Dammers prosecuted the case.
For further information please contact the United States Attorney’s Public Information Office at USAGAN.Pressemails@usdoj.gov or (404) 581-6016. The Internet address for the HomePage for the United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia is www.justice.gov/usao/gan.
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