Inmate gets gang enhancement sentence in assault of Whiteville correctional officer

HARDEMAN COUNTY, Tenn. — The district attorney’s office has announced a recent conviction and sentencing in a brutal assault against a correctional officer at the Whiteville Correctional Facility.

Frederic Jermaine Armstrong

Frederic Jermaine Armstrong

The conviction also includes the first gang enhancement jury conviction in the 25th Judicial District, which includes Fayette, Hardeman, Lauderdale, McNairy and Tipton counties.

Frederic Jermaine Armstrong, also known as “Havoc,” an inmate at the Whiteville Correctional Facility, was found guilty Jan. 11 by a Hardeman County jury on charges of aggravated assault causing serious bodily injury and the sentencing enhancement for criminal gang offense, according to a release from the office of District Attorney General D. Michael Dunavant.

The verdicts came after a two-day jury trial in Bolivar.

At the sentencing hearing on Feb. 26, Hardeman County Circuit Court Judge Weber McCraw imposed the maximum sentence of 12 years within the enhanced range. The sentence will run consecutive to Armstrong’s prior sentence of 25 years for a second-degree murder committed in 2005 in Maury County, according to the release.

Armstrong was originally indicted in May 2014 on the charges inĀ theĀ assault involving a correctional officer that occurred March 11, 2013, according to the release.

As the correctional officer was talking to Armstrong, the officer turned his head and Armstrong struck him twice, effectively rendering him incapacitated, according to the release.

When the officer fell to the floor, Armstrong reportedly knelt down and struck him in the face and head a total of 29 times. The attack lasted less than 30 seconds but resulted in virtually every bone in the officer’s face being broken, according to the release.

The attack left the officer blind in his left eye.

The state demonstrated Armstrong’s gang affiliation through the testimony of Tennessee Department of Correction’s Gang Specialist Chris Bernard.