June 4, 2005 in Nation/World

Inmate who took guards sentenced

Amanda Keim Associated Press

PHOENIX – An inmate who took two prison guards hostage in one of the longest prison standoffs in the nation’s history was sentenced Friday to 16 consecutive life sentences.

Ricky Wassenaar, 42, was convicted last month on 19 charges including kidnapping, sexual assault and aggravated assault for his role in last year’s 15-day hostage standoff at the Arizona State Prison Complex-Lewis.

Wassenaar, who acted as his own attorney, was acquitted on one count of attempted second-degree murder. After the verdicts were read, he repeatedly said, “worst verdicts I ever heard.”

The standoff began Jan. 18, 2004, after Wassenaar and another inmate, Steven Coy, overpowered guards and staff in the prison’s kitchen using makeshift knives.

Wassenaar put on an officer’s uniform and tricked guard Jason Auch into letting him into an armed watchtower. Coy was let in later.

The inmates released Auch after a week.

The second guard, Lois Fraley, was held during the entire standoff. She has publicly said she was raped by both inmates.

“He may not have killed us, but he killed a part of us,” said Fraley, one of five people who asked the judge for the maximum sentence.

Wassenaar was already serving 28 years for armed robbery and assault. His sentence Friday also included an additional 25 years that will be served concurrently with the life sentences, and he was ordered to pay $620,000 in restitution.

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