EBENSBURG - A McClellandtown man was arraigned on criminal homicide and assault charges after police said he strangled a fellow inmate at the Cambria County Prison on Saturday.
William Amos Cramer, 21, was arraigned before Magisterial District Judge Fred Creany via video conference from the county jail on Wednesday.
Cramer is charged with one count each of criminal homicide, aggravated assault and assault by a prisoner, according to court documents.
Police said Cramer strangled William Sherry, 28, of Northern Cambria.
Cramer was originally placed in restrictive housing at the jail, Cambria County Assistant District Attorney Heath Long said. Cramer and Sherry were cellmates at the time of Sherry's death, Long said.
On Saturday, Cambria County Coroner Dennis Kwiatkowski ruled Sherry's death a homicide with the cause of death listed as manual strangulation.
Prison officers found Sherry bloodied and unresponsive in his cell with a bed sheet wrapped around his neck, Long said.
Sherry pleaded guilty in May to charges of fleeing or attempting to elude an officer and driving with a suspended license. He was incarcerated on Aug. 1 on a bench warrant after failing to notify the court of a change of address and for failing to appear at a July 20 hearing regarding outstanding court costs from his prior charges, according to court documents.
Cramer was serving a sentence of four years and six months to nine years in the State Correctional Institution at Cresson for one charge of criminal attempt robbery and two charges of simple assault in Fayette and Indiana counties, respectively, SCI Cresson superintendent's secretary Rebecca Reifer said.
He was transferred to Cambria County Prison while awaiting a hearing after additional criminal charges were filed against him stemming from a November incident at the state prison.
Police said Cramer spit in the face of two corrections officers while being escorted to his cell last November. He then kicked the two officers and dislocated the one man's thumb, police said. Cramer was charged with two counts of aggravated harassment by a prisoner, two counts of aggravated assault, three counts of simple assault and a summary harassment charge.
Cramer was awaiting a hearing on the November charges when police said he strangled Sherry after an altercation in their cell.
On Wednesday, Creany denied setting bail for Cramer's release because of the criminal homicide charge.
Cramer's preliminary hearing for the criminal homicide and assault charges, originally scheduled for Aug. 14, was continued to 10 a.m. Oct. 23 before Creany.