Benner inmate bound over on felony assault charges

A Benner state prison inmate was bound over on felony assault charges Wednesday after accusations that he struck a correctional officer in August.

According to the criminal complaint filed Sept. 30 by state police at Rockview, two correctional officers attempted to move Montana Bell, 24, from his cell to a dental appointment at about 8:20 a.m. Aug. 10. A strip search was performed, and Bell was placed in handcuffs linked to a belt.

Officers noted Bell wasn’t wearing a T-shirt under his jumpsuit, police said. He was allegedly told he needed a shirt before being transferred, to which he allegedly said he “doesn’t wear a shirt to the yard.”

Officers unbuckled his belt and asked him to return to his cell, police said, but Bell allegedly refused and leaned against a wall outside the cell. Officers attempted to take control of Bell, and a struggle allegedly ensued.

Bell was allegedly forced back into his cell, police said, when he struck an officer in the forehead with the handcuffs.

The officer testified Wednesday during the preliminary hearing, saying Bell was “kicking and striking” at him during the altercation. He testified he was standing behind Bell when Bell raised his arms over his head, hitting him in the forehead and causing him to bleed.

The officer also testified his finger was hurt in the scuffle.

Bell was arraigned Oct. 21 before District Judge Kelley Gillette-Walker, according to court documents, and charged with felony aggravated assault, misdemeanor simple assault and summary harassment. Gillette-Walker also presided over the preliminary hearing Wednesday, and bound Bell over on all charges.

The case now moves toward trial.

Jeremy Hartley: 814-231-4616, @JJHartleyNews