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Published: Tuesday, 5/13/2014

Prisoner gets 9 years for attacks

Convicted murderer’s sentence extended for assaults on guards, deputy

Richard Penque is serving 33 years to life for an aggravated murder con-viction in Cuyahoga County. Richard Penque is serving 33 years to life for an aggravated murder con-viction in Cuyahoga County.

A convicted murderer who assaulted corrections officers while he was in the Lucas County jail was sentenced to more than nine additional years in prison for the attacks on guards.

Lucas County Sheriff’s Deputy Patrick Mangold, who was assaulted Jan. 11 by inmate Richard Penque, asked Lucas County Common Pleas Judge Myron Duhart Monday to extend Penque’s time behind bars because of his violent tendencies. Mangold said corrections officers accept risks with their jobs, including the risk of being injured by prisoners. The public, however, must be shielded from dangerous people like Penque, he told the judge.

“My concern is the threat that he poses to society,” the deputy said. “The public is safer the longer that he is incarcerated.”

Judge Duhart, who heard Penque’s four-day bench trial last month, announced his verdicts Monday, finding Penque, 25, guilty of three counts of assault and one count of possession of a weapon while under detention.

The charges against Penque stem first from an April 2, 2013, assault on Lonnie Fosnight, a Lake Township police officer who at the time was working as a corrections officer at Toledo Correctional Institution. On Jan. 11, while Penque was housed at the county jail awaiting trial on that charge, he assaulted Deputy Mangold and James Smith, a corrections officer at the county jail. The same day, officers found a toothbrush sharpened to a point hidden in Penque’s cell.

While noting that Penque already is serving 33 years to life in prison for an aggravated murder conviction in Cuyahoga County, Judge Duhart tacked nine years and three months onto that sentence.

“This court takes assaulting a peace officer extremely seriously,” he said. “These individuals, they get up every day, come to work, do their job. Really, that’s all they want.”

Penque told the court he is “angry a lot of times,” but said he really just wanted to do his time and work on his appeal from his original case.

“I do want you to know that I will not strike out at any corrections officers regardless of the circumstances or the provocation whatever it might be,” Penque said before he was sentenced.

Claudia Ford, an assistant Lucas County prosecutor, implored the court to impose consecutive sentences rather than simply allow Penque to serve the sentence for these crimes at the same time he serves the murder sentence.

“The state is asking that this court send a message to inmates at state facilities in our region as well as local correctional facilities, the Lucas County jail, and tell them it will not be tolerated to assault a corrections officer or a deputy sheriff,” Ms. Ford said. “These folks have thankless jobs.”

Penque’s attorney, Joseph Urenovitch, said his client intended to appeal.

Contact Jennifer Feehan at: jfeehan@theblade.com or 419-213-2134.

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