Inmate to stand trial in death of Pa. CO

Paul Jawon Kendrick allegedly punched and kicked Mark Baserman in the head eight to 10 times


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

SOMERSET, Pa. — A former inmate at SCI-Somerset will stand trial, accused of beating and kicking a longtime corrections officer to death.

Paul Jawon Kendrick, 22, of Pittsburgh, waived his right to a preliminary hearing Monday before District Judge Sandra Stevanus.

This undated photo provided by the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections shows inmate Paul Jawon Kendrick, accused of fatally assaulting correctional officer Sgt. Mark Baserman on Feb. 15, 2018, at a state prison in Somerset, Pa. (Pennsylvania Department of Corrections via AP)
This undated photo provided by the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections shows inmate Paul Jawon Kendrick, accused of fatally assaulting correctional officer Sgt. Mark Baserman on Feb. 15, 2018, at a state prison in Somerset, Pa. (Pennsylvania Department of Corrections via AP)

The proceeding was held in the Somerset County Courthouse.

Kendrick allegedly punched and kicked Mark Baserman, 60, in the head eight to 10 times, at one point returning to kick him once more after another guard tried to apprehend him.

The attack occurred Feb. 15 inside a “day room,” an institutional living room within Kendrick’s housing unit at SCI-Somerset.

Baserman was taken to Conemaugh Memorial Medical Center in Johnstown, where he later died.

Cambria County Coroner Jeffrey Lees ruled Baserman died from several “substantial” blunt force injuries to the head and brain.

Kendrick was charged with criminal homicide, aggravated assault, assault by a prisoner and simple assault.

He is represented by court appointed attorneys Michael Kuhn and David Leake, of Somerset.

Kendrick signed paperwork in court with both hands cuffed and surrounded by a contingent of corrections officers and deputy sheriffs.

“We waived (the hearing),” Kuhn said.

“My client did not intend to kill the correctional officer, and we’re doing what’s in his best interest.”

Kendrick is being held without bond at SCI-Huntingdon, a maximum-security facility about 20 miles east of Altoona.

Kendrick will appear next for a formal arraignment. At that point, the commonwealth will decide if it will seek the death penalty, District Attorney Lisa Lazzari-Strasiser said.

“I don’t have a formal police report yet,” she said. “But all indications seem to qualify it for a capital case.”

Kendrick is already serving life in prison for fatally shooting a man who was playing basketball in his Pittsburgh Northview Heights neighborhood.

Baserman had been working for Department of Corrections since 2007, and spent the past five years at SCI-Somerset, ascending to the rank of sergeant two years ago.

The Stonycreek Township man is the first prison employee in nearly 40 years to be killed by an inmate inside a Pennsylvania state prison, Department of Corrections officials have said.

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

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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