Attack draws 2nd life term

Convicted murderer stabbed prison guards in deal for cash, drugs

July 02, 2008|By Nicole Fuller | Nicole Fuller,SUN REPORTER

A convicted murderer was given a second life sentence yesterday for stabbing three correctional officers in exchange for $1,000 and an ounce of marijuana from fellow inmates at the former Maryland House of Correction in Jessup.

An Anne Arundel County jury found Daniel Brigham, 30, guilty last year of attempted first-degree murder and other charges for stabbing a female corrections officer and two other officers who came to her aid Dec. 29, 2006.

The troubled facility was closed in March 2007.

Circuit Judge Pamela L. North sentenced Brigham yesterday to life plus 11 years, to run consecutively with the life sentence he received in 1999 for a fatal shooting in Baltimore.

Prosecutor Jennifer M. Alexander said the attack on Sgt. Melissa Deir - which "rocked her world" and has prevented her from returning to work - inside a day room at the facility was premeditated, citing notes found by prison personnel written by Brigham but that were inadmissible during his trial, "warning that Sergeant Deir was going to be killed."

Members of the Bloods gang, which had infiltrated the prison, according to Alexander, made a deal with Brigham to kill her.

"All it took was some pot and some cash to kill a correctional officer," Alexander said.

Brigham stabbed Deir several times in the face and neck with an "illegal street knife, not a homemade shank," Alexander said. Two fellow officers came to Brigham's aid, receiving wounds on their hands and one on his head.

Defense Attorney Karl H. Gordon, while conceding that the attack was "of a violent nature," said his client felt compelled to attack Deir at the direction of other inmates or become a victim himself.

Gordon said Brigham had had previous opportunities to attack Deir when she was alone, almost guaranteeing he could kill her, but instead chose to stab her when two other correctional officers were nearby.

"He knew he would not be able to carry out the murder," Gordon said.

"He had to make at least a good-faith effort of injuring Sergeant Deir or face retribution."

Gordon requested that his client receive a sentence of 25 years - the low end of the sentencing guidelines, which called for up to 40 years.

Alexander, however, pointed out that Brigham, who is now being held in the Supermax prison in Baltimore, has been charged with crimes 38 times while in prison.

Among other instances, a correctional officer found Brigham in a shower in June 2000 sharpening an 8 1/2 -inch shank on the bathroom tile. He also attacked another inmate with a 7-inch knife while in line at the dining hall in September 2001. And he robbed another inmate at knifepoint of a TV and radio in September 2005.

Brigham told the judge he would make no statement.

But after Alexander completed her statement to the court, Brigham clapped his hands in a deliberate manner, seemingly applauding her comments.

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