• Inmate, 88, to be tried in alleged assault on guard
     | March 01,2014
    Photo by Eric Francis

    Public defender Jordana Levine helps John Simon to the defense table Thursday at White River Junction criminal court.

    WHITE RIVER JUNCTION — An 88-year-old inmate accused of assaulting a guard during a scuffle at the Springfield jail has been found competent to stand trial.

    John Simon, of Peacham, who is serving a sentence for repeatedly violating restraining orders, has difficulty hearing but is able to assist in his own defense, according to a psychiatrist’s report reviewed by the court.

    Judge Karen Carroll ruled that the misdemeanor case of simple assault on a correctional officer can proceed to a trial in June.

    Simon is accused of attacking Officer Michael Williams in his cell Feb. 7, 2013.

    Simon is serving a sentence of 11 to 60 months. A conviction in the latest case could add up to two years.

    He pleaded not guilty to the assault charge last year after Williams was taken to Springfield Hospital with scratches to his face, forehead and neck.

    Williams said in his report that he’d tried to remove some small paper cups that Simon wasn’t allowed to have in his cell.

    Simon yelled an expletive, the officer wrote, and “scratched the left side of my face, drawing blood, and pulling off my glasses.”

    Williams added, “He was flailing with both arms. To stop the assault I grabbed his hair with my right hand and put him in a headlock ... face down on the end of his bunk.”

    Williams said Simon pulled the handset of his portable radio off his shoulder and the fight was broadcast on the prison’s radio system.

    Simon is the oldest prisoner at the Springfield jail, officials said.

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