Inmate sentenced for fight

City man serving time for assault

HOLLIDAYSBURG — A 19-year-old Altoona man who got into a fight last year inside the Blair County Prison was sentenced Friday to an additional 10 to 24 months incarceration for simple assault and disorderly conduct convictions.

Matthew R. Sanderlin, who is serving a three- to six-year jail sentence on two counts of aggravated assault, will start the 10- to 24-month sentence after finishing his current sentence, Judge Daniel Milliron said Friday.

Milliron presided over a one-day trial in February where Sanderlin tried to convince a jury to clear him of simple assault and disorderly conduct charges because he said he didn’t start the fight on March 21, 2017.

But an inmate, who suffered a black eye and needed stitches to close a wound where a tooth went through his lip, told the jury that he walked into his jail cell and found Sanderlin ready for a fight.

That inmate said he believed he was targeted because he had knowledge of a previous assault in the prison and other inmates feared he was going to divulge what he knew.

The jury took about 20 minutes to convict Sanderlin on both charges.

Milliron said in court on Friday that he found Sanderlin’s behavior “to be that of a bully.”

The judge also said Sanderlin’s conduct reflected “a deliberate planned action within the Blair County Prison that cannot be tolerated or condoned.”

Sanderlin, incarcerated at State Correctional Institution at Pine Grove, Indiana, participated in Friday’s court proceeding by video where he said little. He acknowledged an appeal for leniency presented by Assistant Public Defender Anthony Kattouf.

“He is just 19 years old,” Kattouf said. “He’s essentially a child … a kid.

At SCI Pine Grove, Sanderlin participates in heating, ventilating and air conditioning courses, and he plans to use that knowledge to make a better life upon release, Kattouf said.

Blair County District Attorney Richard Consiglio also referenced Sanderlin’s age and criminal history, pointing out that at 19, Sanderlin has had 11 major convictions. That includes offenses handled through juvenile court proceedings.

Milliron relied on state sentencing guidelines to impose the 10- to 24-month sentence on the simple assault conviction and a 3- to 6-month sentence on the disorderly conduct conviction. While those sentences can be served simultaneously, the judge stressed that they do not start until Sanderlin finishes his current sentence.

Mirror Staff Writer Kay Stephens is at 946-7456.