POTTSVILLE, SCHUYLKILL COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Already serving a life sentence behind bars, an inmate strikes again, attacking another person inside a prison. His most recent attack, in Schuylkill County.
His legs and arms shackled as he walks into courtroom one in the Schuylkill County courthouse. Inside, he’s bound, and wears a waist belt that officers can zap if he acts out. During trial recess, he’s put in a cage.
“He’s a bad guy. He’s by far one of the most dangerous criminals in Pennsylvania,” said prosecuting attorney, Schuylkill County District Attorney Mike O’Pake.
At just 26 years old, William Cramer has been in prison for the past nine years. His criminal acts spread across seven counties.
Five years ago he was found guilty of first-degree murder for strangling his cellmate in Cambria County.
On Nov. 21, 2015 he attacked corrections officers at SCI-Mahanoy with a handmade shank, slicing one officers neck and arm. Inside the courtroom, the trauma surgeon who treated the corrections officer explains to the jury that the wound was just a few millimeters short of being fatal.
When the defendant got to speak, he says it was not his intent to kill the officer, but rather, says it was in self defense. Cramer says SCI-Mahanoy officers denied him clean water, forcing him to drink out of the toilet in his cell. He also says the officers allowed black inmates to urinate and deficate on him. He gave those reasons as to why he retaliated against the guards.
“It was just a last ditch effort to try to throw the jury off the facts of the case but there was absolutely no self defense,” said O’Pake.
In a video shown in the court room, you can see Cramer attack the guards without being provoked and hear him yell, “did I buck fifty him,” which is prison slang for giving someone 150 stiches or cutting a face.
The entire trial lasted less than seven hours. The jury found Cramer guilty on all charges — incuding attempted murder and several assault charges.
Tonight he’s locked up in SCI-Frackville. Tomorrow they will bring him to SCI-Forest, where he’ll serve his life sentence.