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Associated Press, Published October 21 2013

ND inmate accused of attack makes first court appearance

BISMARCK — A North Dakota inmate accused of attacking a correctional officer made his first court appearance Monday while strapped into a restraining device at the Bismarck prison.

John Bridges, 43, is charged with attempted murder and possession of contraband by an inmate. Authorities said he stabbed officer Daryl Lawson on Aug. 25 with a homemade knife at the North Dakota State Penitentiary.

The Bismarck Tribune reported (http://bit.ly/Hb79Zr ) that for safety reasons, Bridges made his first appearance while at the penitentiary rather than at the Burleigh County Courthouse. The judge and others went to the prison while the general public could watch over an interactive video network at the Burleigh County Courthouse.

Bridges was strapped into a restraining device while being advised of his rights and the charges against him during the short hearing.

The next step is a preliminary hearing at which prosecutors will try to prove there is probable cause for the case to go to trial.

At the time of the attack, Bridges was being held in the administrative segregation unit for inmates who are dangerous or do not follow the prison's rules. Law enforcement officials said he manipulated his cell door so it wouldn't latch, forced the door open as Lawson approached, knocked him over with the door and then stabbed him.

Bridges is serving a sentence of life in prison plus 20 years for the July 2012 kidnapping and ax murder of Lee Clay. Bridges acknowledged that he forced Clay into his van and killed him during a struggle on Interstate 94.

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Information from: Bismarck Tribune, http://www.bismarcktribune.com

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