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Judge denies separate trials in prison attack case

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Judge denies separate trials in prison attack case
Mitchell South Dakota 120 South Lawler 57301

SIOUX FALLS (AP) — A South Dakota inmate accused of aiding in an attack on a prison guard has lost his bid to have a trial separate from another inmate charged in the case.

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Garrett Dumarce, 25, and Carlos Green, 28, are charged with aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer. Green is accused of attacking Zane Mathis from behind and breaking his jaw on April 20. Dumarce is accused of signaling to have Green’s cell opened before the attack. Dumarce has said he didn’t know what Green was planning to do.

Dumarce’s lawyer, Lindsay DeMatteo, said trying the two men together before the same jury would discourage Green from testifying about what really happened. Green told law enforcement officers in a videotaped interview that Dumarce had no knowledge of his plans to attack Mathis.

“If they’re kept together, Mr. Green cannot be required to testify against himself,” DeMatteo said.

But if the two men are tried separately, Green could not invoke his right against self-incrimination if called to testify in Dumarce’s trial, she said.

However, Circuit Judge Brad Zell denied the request for separate trials, The Argus Leader reported.

Zell said there’s no guarantee that Green would repeat the story he told to a law enforcement officer. He also said Green would not necessarily lose his right against self-incrimination in a separate trial.

In addition, an argument of innocence, noninvolvement or minimal involvement is not enough to warrant a separate trial, the judge said.

The trial is set to begin Nov. 30.

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