Stabbed York murderer helps his attacker get plea deal
A York County Prison inmate charged with attempted murder for stabbing a convicted killer in the face with a pen received what could amount to a time-served sentence — thanks, in part, to his victim.
Francis L. Tucker, 29, of Philadelphia, pleaded guilty in York County Court to aggravated assault on Monday, Oct. 23, for the attack on Sebastian Olmeda, his pod mate at the time.
He was sentenced to 1½ to three years in state prison for the October 2015 assault but given credit for the time he's served since first being locked up on the charge Feb. 26, 2016. The credited time is more than his minimum sentence.
Tucker, originally from Sierra Leone, was being held in York County Prison prior to that date on a federal immigration matter.
In exchange for his plea, charges of attempted first-degree murder and assault by prisoner were dismissed. Tucker also goes by the names Francis Benjamin, Patrick Benjamin, Francis Morocco, Francis Sumara and John Doe, according to court records.
An immigration detainer remains active against him, meaning federal officials suspect him of being in the United States illegally.
'Waste of time': Senior deputy prosecutor Susan Emmons declined comment, but it appears the primary reason Tucker received the sentence he did is because Olmeda refused to cooperate with police or prosecutors from the start of the case.
"I already told the DA I'm not testifying against Francis Tucker," Olmeda wrote in a letter to the York County District Attorney's Office that was received by the county Clerk of Courts office on Sept. 5.
"It'll be a waste of time and money to bring me to York County," Olmeda continued. "I told y'all once I'm not telling s—."
First assistant public defender Clasina Houtman, who represented Tucker, said her client can switch his focus to his federal case.
"He will have to face the immigration judge now," she said.
Houtman noted that her client's punishment falls in the standard range of Pennsylvania's sentencing guidelines for the subsection of aggravated assault to which he pleaded guilty.
Disappointed: Tucker expressed disappointment when he learned he had failed to kill Olmeda, according to court documents.
"Damn," Tucker said, according to those documents: "I missed his temple."
Olmeda was sitting in the common area of the prison's North C-Pod about 11:35 a.m. Oct. 27, 2015, when Tucker jumped on a table and stabbed Olmeda in the right side of the face with a pen, state police Trooper Jeffrey Gotwals wrote in charging documents.
Corrections officers subdued and handcuffed Tucker and were leading him out of the pod when Tucker overheard an officer tell the prison nurse that Olmeda had been stabbed in the cheek, documents state. That's when he made the remark about missing Olmeda's temple, police said.
The tip of the pen broke off and lodged in Olmeda's jaw, according to Gotwals, who said Olmeda had to be transported to York Hospital to have it removed.
Motive fuzzy: Gotwals has said he wasn't certain why Tucker stabbed Olmeda because Olmeda didn't cooperate with the investigation.
"The best we can piece together is, it's a prior issue over a magazine," the trooper said.
It appears Tucker loaned Olmeda a magazine, and when Olmeda returned it, he tossed it on a table, "which Tucker took as a sign of disrespect," Gotwals said.
Houtman on Monday confirmed there was information put on the record in Tucker's case that indicated a prior altercation over a magazine.
Olmeda's crime: Olmeda, 27, of York City, was convicted in October 2013 of first-degree murder for the July 2, 2011, shooting death of Eddie Rivera.
Rivera, 33, of New York, was standing inside 117 Pattison St. about 2:45 a.m. when he was shot by Olmeda, who was standing on a back stoop directly in front of the screen door, police have said.
Prosecutors have said it appears there was no motive for the shooting, except that it apparently was related to an argument in a nearby parking lot that didn't involve either man but did involve Rivera's girlfriend's aunt.
Olmeda, also known as "Boom," was sentenced to life in prison without parole.
— Reach Liz Evans Scolforo at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @LizScolforoYD.