Official: Pa. CO attacked by white supremacist inmate with razor

William Amos Cramer, who slashed a CO's throat in 2014, has now been accused of trying to kill an SCI-Somerset CO


By Patrick Buchnowski
The Tribune-Democrat, Johnstown, Pa.

SOMERSET, Pa. — A white supremacist who murdered his Cambria County Prison cellmate in 2012 and slashed a prison guard’s throat in 2014 has now been accused of trying to kill an SCI-Somerset corrections officer with a razor.

William Amos Cramer, 26, faces charges of attempted homicide, assault by a prisoner, assault by a life prisoner, aggravated assault and simple assault, according to a press release issued Wednesday by Chief Randy Cox of the Somerset Borough Police Department.

William Amos Cramer, 26, faces a slew of charges, including attempted homicide. (Photo/Pennsylvania DOC)
William Amos Cramer, 26, faces a slew of charges, including attempted homicide. (Photo/Pennsylvania DOC)

Cramer was receiving medical treatment at Somerset Hospital on Dec. 3 when he pulled out a razor blade and lunged at the corrections officer, Cox alleged.

“Cramer’s stated intention was to slit the throat of the officer,” Cox said in the press release. “According to Cramer, he had accessed the razor blade inside SCI-Somerset, swallowed it and then passed it in a bathroom at the hospital. He was able to conceal it on his person until his attack on the officer.”

Cramer was apparently offended because he thought that the corrections officer, who was not injured during the alleged attack, was on friendly terms with African-American inmates, Cox said.

The charges have been filed at the office of District Judge Ken Johnson, of Somerset.

Cramer has yet to be arraigned, but remains incarcerated on his original sentence at SCI-Somerset.

Cramer, a native of the Uniontown area, was sentenced in November 2013 to life in prison without the chance of parole for the murder of 28-year-old Northern Cambria native William Sherry.

Cramer was in the Cambria County Prison awaiting a hearing on an assault charge when he killed Sherry.

Sherry, who had been lodged in the Cambria County Prison for failing to report to his parole officer and failing to pay costs and fines, was transferred from the general prison population to Cramer’s cell in the Disciplinary Housing Unit on August 4, 2012. Later that day, Cramer strangled Sherry to death.

In a slur-filled note he wrote to a fellow inmate after the murder, Cramer stated that he killed Sherry after he learned that Sherry, a white man, had fathered a child with a black woman, according to a 2014 opinion by a Superior Court of Pennsylvania judge who denied Cramer’s appeal of his sentence.

“I just love my race. That’s my religion,” Cramer told Cambria County Judge Patrick Kiniry during his sentencing hearing, according to a 2013 Tribune-Democrat article.

In August of 2014, while Cramer was serving his life sentence at SCI-Coal Township in Northumberland County, he used a razor-like weapon to slash the throat of a Hispanic corrections officer, according to an Associated Press story dated Nov. 20, 2015. In that case, he claimed he was defending himself from racial prejudice by non-white inmates and guards.

Cox noted that, while state prison inmates are routinely treated at Somerset Hospital, both the hospital and the institution go to great lengths to provide appropriate security.

“Inmates transported to Somerset Hospital are subject to the precautions dictated by their threat classification at the prison,” Cox said.

“They are housed and treated in a specially equipped unit that is segregated from the rest of the hospital’s patients and visitors and are under supervision of multiple corrections officers during their transport to and from as well as during their stay at the hospital.”

Cox noted that this case represents “the great risk under which corrections officers operate,” saying: “For those of us who do not work there, the corrections setting is often out of sight and out of mind. This case is a stark reminder of the threats corrections officers deal with on a daily basis.”

©2018 The Tribune-Democrat (Johnstown, Pa.)

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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