EBENSBURG - Two Cambria County prisoners, who are charged with attacking a fellow inmate early last month after he testified against their relative, waived those charges at their preliminary hearings Tuesday and are each set to plead guilty to a felony charge in Cambria County Court.
Both men are already facing lengthy state prison sentences in unrelated cases, one for a 2012 shooting in Johnstown's Moxham neighborhood.
The victim told a correctional officer he was feeling better Tuesday, as both sat in Magisterial District Judge Fred Creany's courtroom waiting to testify against the men for the Aug. 2 assault.
The officer also apologized to the victim and said he wished he could have prevented the attack.
The victim told a Cambria County District Attorney's Office detective that Giavon Romello Grandinetti, 19, 68 Fairfield Ave., Johnstown, attacked him from behind as he was entering his cell in Block C.
He said Grandinetti punched him in the face, and when he tried to leave his cell to call to a guard for help, Grandinetti and Grandinetti's uncle, Shakir Mosi Smith, 37, 246 Ebensburg Road, Johnstown, attacked him.
According to a criminal complaint, the victim said the men knocked him to the ground and punched and kicked him until guards were able to pull the two men off him.
Officials said digital video cameras in the jail show the two men beating and kicking the other inmate.
The victim told police the two men attacked him for testifying in a federal case against their relative, who is Smith's sister and Grandinetti's mother.
The detective said the victim, who had visible facial injuries, was transported to Conemaugh Memorial Medical Center in Johnstown for treatment.
Assistant District Attorney Gary Jubas said Grandinetti was charged with attempted homicide for his role in a nonfatal January 2012 shooting in Johnstown. Grandinetti pleaded guilty to felony aggravated assault within four days of the prison beating.
He is to spend four to 10 years in jail for those charges. Smith is to spend eight to 20 years in jail for drug and weapons charges.
Jubas said both men plan to plead guilty to a felony count each for retaliation against a witness.
Jubas said he couldn't say what kind of a sentence a Cambria County judge might impose.
The victim said before Tuesday's hearing that as soon as he completes his sentence, he plans to leave the area with his family for a fresh start.
Mirror Staff Writer Kelly Cernetich is at 946-7520.