Gavel

A Bedford County inmate accused of attacking his cellmate with a toothbrush pleaded no contest on Tuesday to a felony aggravated assault charge.

James H. Dively II, 35, entered a plea calling for him to serve 15 months to 5 years in state prison and 10 years of probation.

Dively had been facing an attempted homicide charge, which was dismissed as part of the deal.

District Attorney Lesley Childers-Potts said Dively had physically assaulted his cellmate and had stabbed him multiple times with a blunt object, which state police believe was a toothbrush, during the altercation in January 2016.

Childers-Potts said the cellmate suffered some vision loss after being stabbed in the left eye, and suffered swelling in his brain due to bleeding.

State police in the criminal complaint filed against Dively said he had assaulted his cellmate, Jeffrey S. Miller, within the Restricted Housing Unit at the jail.

Miller, a Tier III sexual offender, was in jail at the time on charges he failed to properly register a vehicle with state police. Miller suffered “extreme trauma to the head area,” according to court documents.

Judge Travis Livengood said Dively had been evaluated by psychologist Dr. Bruce A. Wright, of Pittsburgh, who determined he was mentally competent to stand trial.

“I agree with Dr. Wright’s opinion here,” Livengood said during the plea hearing. “(Dively) has been very cognizant with me.”

Livengood said Dively “converses freely” during court proceedings and appeared to understand the roles of the people in the courtroom, including the prosecutors, his defense attorney and the judge.

Dively also pleaded no contest to a felony count of possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance stemming from charges in a separate case. Childers-Potts said Dively sold .9 grams of crack cocaine to a confidential informant in October 2014. Drug charges in a third case from 2015 were dropped as part of the plea.

The no contest plea is not an admission of guilt, but rather the defendant believes there is enough evidence for a conviction if presented to a jury.

A no contest plea is a conviction.

Livengood scheduled sentencing for June 21.

Contact Will DeShong at wdeshong@bedfordgazette.com; 623-1151, ext. 150.

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