Axe Murderer Requests Max Sentence on New Charges - - Bismarck/Minot/Williston/Dickinson-KXNEWS,ND

Axe Murderer Requests Max Sentence on New Charges

Bismarck, ND -

A defendant comes to court with an unusual request.

Convicted axe murderer John Bridges wants the maximum punishment for a new crime he committed while in jail.

"Sentence me today if that is possible," says John Bridges.

From his full body restraints in a room at the North Dakota State Prison, Bridges makes a deal with the court.

An unusual deal coming from a defendant.

He would plead guilty to Attempted Murder and Inmate in Possession of contraband in exchange for this, "I want the max and anything else extended to the term, consecutive."

Bridges wrote a letter to prosecutors asking for the maximum sentence. It's just one more unusual twist in what's been a bizarre case.

"The state is requesting the maximum sentence of 40 years, like what Bridges requested in his letter," says Burleigh County Prosecutor Dawn Dietz.

These new charges stem from an incident at the North Dakota State Prison.

Bridges was somehow able to keep his cell door from latching shut. He lured an officer over and attacked. He stabbed Officer Daryl Lawson with a homemade knife ten times in the chest, back and neck and punched him in the face.

While the officers' injuries were minor, prosecutors say it could have been worse.

Dietz says,"he made a weapon for protection to use when in the general population which was a mire week away."

Bridges is already serving a life sentence plus 20 years for the murder and kidnapping of a man in Burleigh County in July 2012.

These additional charges add a maximum of 40 years.

In fact, Bridges threatened to take the case to trial if Judge Bruce Romanick gave him anything less.

"I'm in a very difficult situation. I don't normally have to ask the court for a maximum sentence. But it is Mr. Bridges wish and he is very adamant about his wishes that he be sentenced to the maximum penalty and that the sentences run consecutively," says defense attorney Kelsey Gentzkow

"I'll sentence him to what he wants," says Judge Romanick.

The sentence really doesn't change much for Bridges.

He had no chance of getting out even before this hearing.

With a life without parole plus 60 year sentence, Bridges has the longest prison term of any inmate at the North Dakota State Prison.

There are 29 inmates at the Pen with life without parole sentences.

Bridges is being held in the Maximum Segregation area of the prison. He is locked up for 23 hours a day and is allowed one hour of recreation, indoors.

The Department of Corrections conducted an investigation into how Bridges was able to get out of his cell.

DOCR spokesperson, Tim Townsend, says the incident was traced to an employee's error and that person has since resigned.


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