CLEARFIELD – Three inmates have been charged for the April riot at the State Correctional Institution at Houtzdale, announced Clearfield County District Attorney William A. Shaw Jr. today.
Shaw identified the defendants as Norman Wothman, 51, Yafest Oliver, 26, and Richard Adams, 34, all formerly inmates at SCI Houtzdale.
Trooper David Patrick of the Pennsylvania State Police, Clearfield barracks, filed criminal complaints in which he charged the defendants with aggravated assault, F1; assault by prisoner, F2; riot, F3; simple assault, M2; disorderly conduct, M3; and harassment, S.
According to the criminal complaints, at approximately 2:34 p.m. April 28, corrections officers at SCI Houtzdale responded to an alleged physical altercation between two inmates. When COs approached they allegedly observed Adams kicking another inmate in the head and face area, while he was laying on the ground.
COs then allegedly ordered Adams to cuff up; however, he refused all orders and took a fighting stance. As COs gained control of Adams, they were allegedly assaulted by multiple inmates.
Upon investigation state police allegedly determined that Adams, along with Oliver, kicked, stomped and punched a CO, while he was on the ground. The CO was subsequently flown to UPMC Altoona to be treated for injuries, according to the criminal complaints.
State police allegedly determined that Oliver also assaulted other COs by kicking, punching and even using a staff radio. During the melee, Wothman was also allegedly observed striking a CO in the head with a closed fist.
After the victims were removed from the area to be transported to UPMC Altoona for treatment, Wothman allegedly refused to follow any orders. Instead, Wothman allegedly threatened other inmates who were attempting to leave and wanted others to stay in the yard and assault the other COs.
Shaw stated that officials from SCI Houtzdale, as well as investigators from the Pennsylvania State Police have identified a number of inmates who participated in the riot. He stated that further arrests will be made in the riot.
Preliminary hearings for the first three inmates charged in the riot will be held in the near future, according to Shaw.
Shaw stated he was extremely proud of the quick response from officials at SCI Houtzdale to “quash” the disturbance and to prevent the situation from escalating further. Shaw stated that negotiators and special response teams from the Department of Corrections were able to gain immediate control of the situation and to prevent further incident.
Shaw believed that community members should feel safe and recognize the professionals from SCI Houtzdale and the state police are prepared to handle to events.
Shaw explained that this type of violent, criminal activity is completely unacceptable and continued efforts will be made to identify, investigate and prosecute criminals responsible at SCI Houtzdale.
Shaw stated that working in a state prison is a stressful and dangerous job, and the men and women who work tirelessly to supervise convicted criminals are entitled to feel safe in the work place. Assaults of this nature are unacceptable and will be prosecuted, Shaw stated.
Anyone with knowledge of a crime is asked to call Clearfield County Crime Stoppers at 800-376-4700. All calls to Crime Stoppers are confidential.
Anonymous tips can also be submitted by visiting the Clearfield County District Attorney Web site at “www.ClearfieldDA.org” and selecting “Report A Crime.”