KINGSTON TWP. — The slash wound on correctional officer Francis Petroski’s face has healed, but a long scar from his mouth to his right ear is apparent.
Petroski didn’t have to testify Thursday against the inmate who is accused of slashing him with a makeshift weapon inside the State Correctional Institution at Dallas on April 17.
Joel Perez, 40, waived his right to a preliminary hearing before District Judge James Tupper, sending two counts of aggravated assault and one count each of assault by prisoner and inmate in possession of a weapon to Luzerne County Court.
Perez is represented by Luzerne County Public Defender Jonathan Blum.
State police at Wyoming charged Perez with slashing Petroski’s face with two razor blades embedded in a toothbrush handle, according to the criminal complaint.
Perez, sentenced to life in prison for a first-degree murder conviction in Lancaster County 18 years ago, was transferred to the State Correctional Institution at Retreat, Newport Township, after the alleged assault.
Petroski was initially treated in the prison infirmary and transported to Geisinger Wyoming Valley Medical Center, where he underwent surgery. He was released a day after he was attacked.
According to the criminal complaint:
Petroski was sitting at a desk in L-Block when Perez approached him from behind. Petroski told state police Perez whispered something into his right ear, then he felt what he thought was a “hard slap.”
Perez ran into a main corridor as he was being pursued by Petroski. Other correctional officers tackled Perez in the main corridor.
The makeshift knife was seized by correctional officers and turned over to state police.
Perez is scheduled to be formally arraigned in county court on Aug. 15.