Life prisoner sentenced for attempt to murder CO

Wearing a mask to prevent him from spitting on COs, William A. Cramer heard a judge sentence him to life in prison

By Peter E. Bortner
Republican & Herald, Pottsville, Pa.

POTTSVILLE, Pa. — For the second time in his criminal career, William A. Cramer on Monday received a sentence of life imprisonment, putting another layer in what appears to be an impenetrable wall between him and freedom.

Wearing a mask to prevent him from spitting on corrections officers, Cramer, 27, of the Uniontown area, heard President Judge William E. Baldwin sentence him to serve life plus 2 1/2 to five years in a state correctional institution.

William A. Cramer, 27, received a sentence of life imprisonment for the second time in his criminal career. (Photo/Pennsylvania DOC)
William A. Cramer, 27, received a sentence of life imprisonment for the second time in his criminal career. (Photo/Pennsylvania DOC)

“Nothing was putting you in danger of immediate harm,” Baldwin told Cramer in rejecting his claim, which also had been denied by the jury that heard his case of self-defense in his assault on Corrections Officer Jared Mausteller in November 2015.

Not only did Baldwin sentence Cramer to life plus 2 1/2 to five years, he made the term consecutive to the life sentence the defendant already is serving at State Correctional Institution/Forest for murdering a man in August 2012 in Cambria County.

Cramer remains at SCI/Forest, and Baldwin conducted Monday’s hearing by videoconference.

After a one-day trial over which Baldwin presided, a jury of seven men and five women found Cramer guilty on April 3 of attempted first-degree murder, inmate procuring weapon, possessing instruments of crime and two counts each of aggravated assault and assault by prisoner.

State police at Frackville charged Cramer, whose face contains Nazi and white power tattoos, with slicing Mausteller’s throat, and then stabbing him in the left forearm with a homemade shank at 8:40 a.m. Nov. 21, 2015, in the restricted housing unit at State Correctional Institution/Mahanoy.

At the trial, Mausteller testified that Cramer had cut him from the earlobe to the center of his throat. He also said he has scars on his neck and forearm and has not been able to return to work due at least in part to limited strength in his left hand.

“I went through two surgeries,” Mausteller said.

Cramer said Monday that he acted in self-defense, maintaining that COs had allowed black prisoners to abuse and assault him.

“They deprived me of life’s necessities,” he said. “That’s justification.”

However, District Attorney Michael A. O’Pake successfully argued for the consecutive life sentence, saying nothing supported or justified Cramer’s behavior.

“I think it’s very clear that the actions of Mr. Cramer were despicable,” O’Pake said.

A Cambria County jury found Cramer guilty on Oct. 14, 2013, of first-degree murder, aggravated assault and assault by prisoner. Judge Patrick T. Kiniry then imposed Cramer’s first life sentence on Nov. 4, 2013.

State police at Ebensburg charged Cramer with stabbing his cellmate, William Sherry, 28, of Northern Cambria, on Aug. 4, 2012.

Prison personnel have described Cramer as being one of the most dangerous inmates in the entire state corrections system. During his trial in Schuylkill County, Cramer was confined in a cage during breaks.

©2018 the Republican & Herald (Pottsville, Pa.)

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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