Metro

Billerica man sentenced for attack on correctional officers

A Billerica man was convicted Thursday of assaulting two correctional officers last July at the Middlesex Jail and House of Correction and sentenced to more time behind bars for the attacks, authorities said.

Jack Jennings, 23, was sentenced to a total of five years for the assaults, Middlesex District Attorney Marian T. Ryan and Sheriff Peter J. Koutoujian said in a joint statement. Authorities did not provide details on Jennings’ original crime that put him in jail in the first place.

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He was convicted of the assaults on the corrections officers by a Lowell District Court jury. Jennings’ lawyer, Robin Gagne, could not be reached for comment Friday night.

According to the statement, Jennings was “actively resisting officers and being verbally abusive towards staff and threatening towards officers” in the intake area on July 24 and was sent to a separate cell.

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“Once in his cell, he spat on one officer and used his handcuffs to attempt to break the glass of the cell door,” the authorities said in the statement, adding that he later attacked a second officer who was assigned to move him.

Jennings refused to move without his glasses, which had broken during the earlier incident, officials said.

“While the officer was attempting to fix the defendant’s glasses for him, the defendant struck the officer in the temple with a closed fist, causing injuries to the officer,” authorities said.

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Koutoujian praised Ryan’s staff Friday for “vigorously prosecuting this case.”

“Acts of violence perpetrated against our officers are unacceptable and the sentence ... sends a clear message the justice system reinforces the serious nature of this crime,” Koutoujian said in the statement.

Ryan echoed the sheriff and said Jennings “jeopardized the safety of the correction officers while they were performing their jobs. This conviction reaffirms that individuals, even while incarcerated, will be held accountable for their actions.”

It was not clear on Friday night where Jennings is currently being held.

A spokesman for Koutoujian said only that he is not presently in the custody of the Middlesex sheriff’s department.

Travis Andersen can be reached at travis.andersen@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @TAGlobe.
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