U.S. Attorney's Office
Middle District of Pennsylvania
(717) 221-4482
October 15, 2014

Federal Inmate Charged with Attempted Murder

The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced today that the federal grand jury sitting in Scranton, Pennsylvania, returned an indictment yesterday charging an inmate at the United States Penitentiary at Canaan, Pennsylvania, with allegedly assaulting another inmate with a dangerous weapon and with the intent to commit murder. George Lyle Cullett, Jr., age 55, formerly of California, was charged with the offense. In addition, the Grand Jury returned charges alleging that Cullett conspired with another inmate to commit the attack using sharpened weapons commonly referred to as “shanks.” United States Attorney Peter Smith noted that the victim was another inmate who survived the attack but suffered numerous stab wounds which required treatment at a local hospital.

The case was investigated by the FBI and the Special Investigation Section at USP-Canaan.

Prosecution is assigned to Assistant United States Attorney John Gurganus.

Indictments and Criminal Informations are only allegations. All persons charged are presumed to be innocent unless and until found guilty in court. A sentence following a finding of guilty is imposed by the Judge after consideration of the applicable federal sentencing statutes and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines.

In this particular case, the maximum penalty under the federal statute is thirty years’ imprisonment, a term of supervised release following imprisonment, and a fine. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the Judge is also required to consider and weigh a number of factors, including the nature, circumstances and seriousness of the offense; the history and characteristics of the defendant; and the need to punish the defendant, protect the public and provide for the defendant’s educational, vocational and medical needs. For these reasons, the statutory maximum penalty for the offense is not an accurate indicator of the potential sentence for a specific defendant.

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