FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Kristi Hoover, 215.348.6018, firstname.lastname@example.org
An inmate who fatally slapped a fellow prisoner in the head last year at the Bucks County Correctional Facility was sentenced today to serve two and one-half to five years in state prison.
Christopher Sean Williams, 38, of Levittown, pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter, simple assault, and intimidation of a witness in the Oct. 12 death of Donald Tommy Rush, 57, of Chalfont.
Williams admitted that he struck the blow that caused a brain injury that killed Rush. Williams had been angry that Rush had awakened him from a nap by talking with Williams’ cellmate.
Williams hit Rush in the head with an open hand on Oct. 11, knocking off Rush’s glasses and causing his mouth to bleed. He then refused to let Rush leave the cell until Rush promised not to report the assault to corrections officers.
Rush told prison guards that he injured his mouth by accidentally hitting his face on his cell door. He was allowed to seek treatment at the prison dispensary.
Williams also intimidated two other prisoners into not discussing the assault. One was his cellmate, whom he warned that someone’s residence is easily found by using the internet.
Just before 1 a.m. on Oct. 12, about seven hours after the assault, Rush was seen walking unsteadily from his cell, appearing disoriented. He collapsed on the floor and was taken to Abington Memorial Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
An autopsy revealed that Rush had died of bleeding in his brain caused by a blow consistent with a slap to his head. The death was ruled a homicide.
Involuntary manslaughter is a form of homicide in which a defendant’s illegal conduct is a direct cause of someone’s death, and in which the defendant acted in a reckless or grossly negligent manner.
Bucks County Judge Diane E. Gibbons accepted a plea agreement in which Williams would be sentenced to two and one-half to five years, the longest sentence possible for that crime.
Williams told Gibbons that he never intended to cause such a severe injury to Rush.
“I don’t even want to call it an accident. This is absolutely a tragedy,” he said, apologizing to Rush’s daughter, who sat in court. “I just hope someday that you can forgive me.”
Gibbons also ordered Rush to pay $1,864.91 in restitution to the Pennsylvania Crime Victims Compensation Board.
The case was prosecuted by Deputy District Attorneys Kristi Hoover and Matthew Lannetti, and investigated by Bucks County detectives.
Approved for release by David W. Heckler, District Attorney.