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Two inmates charged following Bayport prison stabbing

Two inmates at the Bayport prison face charges of attempted murder after a fellow inmate was stabbed 39 times and nearly thrown from a prison balcony last year.

Washington County prosecutors have charged inmates Scott Allen Patterson, 32, and Randall Orion Huston, 30, with felony charges related to attempted murder and assault following an attack on offender Douglas Alan Dettman last June.

Both men are charged with first-degree aiding and abetting attempted murder and first-degree aiding and abetting first-degree assault. If convicted of the crimes, the men could each face a maximum of 40 years in prison and fines of $30,000.

Patterson is scheduled to first appear in Washington County District Court on April 8; Huston on April 29.

In a criminal compliant filed Jan. 29, Dettman, 55, said he was lying on bunk reading on June 11, 2007, when Huston and Patterson entered his cell and began assaulting him -- Huston delivering punches to his head and Patterson stabbing him. After the men left Dettman's cell, he fled to get help.

As he did so, Patterson grabbed him and attempted to throw him over a railing.

A surveillance video recorded Patterson and Huston entering and leaving Dettman's cell, as well as Patterson struggling with Dettman at the railing. Further, it shows Patterson throwing into a window well an object that was later identified as a foldable "shank," or hand-fashioned stabbing weapon.

According to the compliant, the stabbing end of the 8-inch weapon was thinner than a pencil. Cloth wrapped around the weapon's handle was soaked with blood.

Dettman was hospitalized for his injuries, which included 29 stab wounds to his chest, back, and extremities. During treatment, Dettman underwent a tracheotomy and had exploratory surgeries on his abdomen and throat, the complaint states. Further, he contracted pneumonia.

Further information about Dettman's health status is protected under the Minnesota Data Practices Act, said Shari Burt, communications director for the Minnesota Department of Corrections.

In a prison interview the day after the attack, Huston corroborated much of Dettman's account, admitting to hitting Dettman about 10 times and watching Patterson stab him repeatedly. However, Huston claimed he was coerced into his role.

When Patterson heard that Huston was unhappy with Huston's impending transfer to the medium-security Faribault prison, Patterson made Huston an offer he couldn't refuse: help him kill Dettman in exchange for his influence in blocking the transfer, or die.

"Defendant Huston said he did not want to be a part of murder, but Defendant Patterson told him he had to help because Huston already knew about the plan and that if he didn't help he would be killed," the criminal complaint states. "Defendant Huston, fearing for his safety, participated."

Patterson refused to participate in an investigative interview last fall. He is serving a life sentence for a 1996 murder conviction and is not eligible for parole consideration until 2026. Previously, he served more than three years in Minnesota correctional facilities for convictions of second-degree assault and aggravated robbery from the early 1990s.

Huston is serving a sentence for a 2005 conviction for first-degree assault and is scheduled for release in 2013. He served sentences for theft, auto theft, forgery, burglary and escape from custody, all dating from 2000.

Dettman is serving a sentence for a 2004 conviction of first-degree criminal sexual conduct. He is scheduled for release in 2013.

All three men have been moved to the maximum-security prison in Oak Park Heights, where they are housed in separate units, Burt said.

The Minnesota Department of Corrections classifies its facilities on a five-level scale, with Levels 1 and 2 as minimum security, Level 3 as medium security, Level 4 as close security and Level 5 as maximum security.

The Bayport prison, known officially as Minnesota Correctional Facility-Stillwater, contains both Level I and Level 4 areas, while Minnesota Correctional Facility-Oak Park Heights is considered Level 5.

Other Minnesota correctional facilities include the Level 4 facilities at Rush City and St. Cloud, Level 3 facilities in Lino Lakes and Moose Lake, and a Level I facility at Lino Lakes. Minnesota Correctional Facility-Faribault contains facilities for security levels 1-3.