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Attorney General’s Office secures life sentence for inmate who assaulted correctional officer

HELENA – An inmate who was nearing release was sentenced Friday to life in prison for an attack that left a correctional officer in Shelby with a traumatic brain injury, Attorney General Austin Knudsen announced today.

Landin John Gwynn of Havre, 40, pleaded guilty without the benefit of a plea agreement in September in Toole County District Court to aggravated assault upon a correctional officer at Crossroads Correctional Center in 2021. He was serving a 3-year prison term for partner or family member assault.

Gwynn agreed that his victim suffered a traumatic brain injury when he and another inmate attacked staff members at the correctional center. The attack was halted when the warden tackled both inmates simultaneously before responding staff subdued them.

The judge imposed a life sentence, as requested by the Attorney General’s Office, that will be served consecutively to Gwynn’s underlying sentence. Gwynn would have completed his initial sentence on Wednesday.

Another inmate, William Schmidt, is also alleged to have participated in the assault as well as attacking two additional staff members. Schmidt is scheduled to go to trial on January 2, 2024.

Assistant Attorney General Patrick Moody prosecuted the case, which was investigated by Robert “Terry” Leonard with the Montana Department of Corrections Investigations Bureau. To read the judgment, click here.