Home Seattle Press Releases 2013 Violent Federal Felon Sentenced to 28 Years in Prison for Attacks on Prison Guards

Violent Federal Felon Sentenced to 28 Years in Prison for Attacks on Prison Guards
Defendant Already Serving a Life Sentence for Attempted Murder in Wyoming

U.S. Attorney’s Office October 21, 2013
  • Western District of Washington (206) 553-7970

A federal felon who participated in a violent assault at the Federal Detention Center at SeaTac, Washington, in January 2012 was sentenced today to 28 years in prison, announced U.S. Attorney Jenny A. Durkan. Roy Scott Fritts, 35, is already serving a life without parole sentence in Wyoming for an attempted murder conviction. U.S. District Judge James L. Robart ordered that the 28-year sentence be served consecutive to the life sentence imposed in Wyoming.

“This sentence works to ensure a dangerous felon never returns to threaten society,” said U.S. Attorney Jenny A. Durkan. “He persistently and repeatedly endangered the public, and in this case, the public servants we rely on to keep our prisons safe and secure. This violent and dangerous conduct will not be tolerated.”

According to records filed in the case, Fritts and co-defendant Sabir Shabazz attacked a prison guard at the FDC on the morning of January 3, 2012. Shabazz beat the guard with a pipe. The men claimed the attack was an escape attempt, but video of the assault shows it was just a brutal attack. Other inmates intervened in the assault, likely saving the guard’s life. At the time of the assault, Fritts was armed with a homemade knife called a shank. Fritts threatened various officers with the shank during the melee. On July 10, 2013, Fritts was convicted by jury verdict of one count of conspiracy to assault a federal officer and three counts of assault of a federal officer with a dangerous weapon.

Fritts had been sent to FDC SeaTac for a mental evaluation following a crime spree across five western states. Fritts had absconded from parole in Oregon, stole a truck in Nebraska, shot and attempted to kill the driver who had given him a ride in Wyoming, carjacked a car in Utah, and tried unsuccessfully to carjack a second vehicle. When arrested, he was armed with a semi-automatic .45 caliber handgun.

In asking for the lengthy sentence prosecutors wrote to the court, “The attack on the officer was premeditated and carried out with shocking violence. The officer nearly died as a result of the attack and has been left permanently damaged. But for the intervention of other inmates, the officer would have been murdered. This was the worst officer involved assault in FDC SeaTac history....Though Fritts did not strike the blows, he is equally culpable. He helped plan out the attack, in anticipation of the assault he armed himself with a deadly weapon, and stood ready to assist while it was carried out.”

The FBI and Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) investigated the prison assault. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Bruce Miyake and Mike Lang.

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