Convicted murderer: I was subjected to excessive force after hitting my defense attorney
Convicted murderer Randy K. Washington has filed a federal lawsuit against Mercer County sheriff’s officers and corrections officers, alleging they subjected him to “cruel and unusual punishment” and failed to provide him with timely medical treatment after he attacked his former lawyer in court.
“Now on Thursday, June 29, 2017, I hit my attorney, but when I hit her, I did not advance toward her, I just waited for the sheriff to come handcuff me,” Washington says in his lawsuit filed Sept. 19. He then accuses the sheriff’s officers of tackling him on a table, slamming him to the ground and breaking a bone in his hand.
“I did not receive treatment until about six weeks after it was noted my hand was broken,” Washington says in his lawsuit, “causing further psychological harm from the pain and mental anguish, emotional distress caused by insomnia from disputes with prison officers about pain medication, violating my Eighth Amendment rights.”
More than a lawsuit, the litigation is effectively a written confession of Washington admitting he assaulted his former defense attorney Jessica Lyons in Mercer County Superior Court Judge Darlene Pereksta’s courtroom on June 29.
Washington, 36, of Trenton, was on trial for stalking, shooting and killing 64-year-old Silas Johnson in Trenton on Oct. 29, 2014. A jury on July 6 found Washington guilty of first-degree murder, weapons offenses and resisting arrest.
Pereksta earlier this month sentenced Washington to 70 years of imprisonment. He is currently incarcerated at New Jersey State Prison in Trenton and is scheduled to be released via parole on April 27, 2074, according to the New Jersey Department of Corrections.
For a convicted murderer who has expressed no remorse for slaying a 64-year-old grandfather, Washington in his litigation recognizes that unjustified force against another individual is unacceptable by the norms of human decency.
“Our society places great value on human life and on the right of every person to be free from offensive physical contact by another,” Washington says. “Consequently, the use of force by one individual against another is frowned upon. For this reason, force is permissible only when all non-force alternatives have failed.”
Washington filed his lawsuit against several Mercer County corrections officers, including Sgt. Timothy Friel, Lt. Chris Zegarski and Warden Charles Ellis, and he also filed suit against unnamed Mercer County sheriff’s officers.
“I do not know the Sheriff Deputy’s name,” Washington concedes in his litigation, apparently referring to one of the officers who apprehended him in court. The whole incident of Washington attacking his lawyer and getting thoroughly subdued by multiple sheriff’s officers is recorded on the courtroom camera and hallway cameras, he said.
Washington has a mile-long rap sheet comprising six juvenile adjudications, nine municipal court convictions and nine upper-court convictions that include previous violent offenses, according to Pereksta, who said her Sept. 22 sentencing of Washington to seven decades of imprisonment was “appropriate” and “just.”
In addition to being sentenced to 70 years of incarceration for first-degree murder, Washington also received a 10-year concurrent sentence for unlawful possession of a handgun and a five-year concurrent sentence for resisting arrest. He has been awarded 1,059 days of jail credit for being incarcerated at the Mercer County Correction Center from Oct. 29, 2014, through Sept. 21, 2017.
Washington has several additional criminal matters pending before state Superior Court, including another homicide case. In addition to murdering Johnson near the intersection of Market Street and the Route 1 overpass in Trenton, the state also accuses Washington of murdering George Jamison, 43, who was shot and killed July 30, 2014, while sitting on a bus stop bench in the 7.5-square-mile capital city of Trenton.
Mercer County has a policy to not comment on pending litigation.