BISMARCK, N.D. — A convicted murderer accused of stabbing a correctional officer made his first court appearance strapped into a restraining device.
John Bridges, 43, faces Class A felony charges of attempted murder and possession of contraband by an inmate.
Bridges is serving a sentence of life in prison without parole for the murder and a 20-year sentence for the kidnapping of Lee Clay, which occurred on July 6, 2012. Bridges admitted to forcing Clay into his van and killing him during a struggle on Interstate 94 in Burleigh County.
Bridges was being held in the North Dakota State Penitentiary's administrative segregation unit — for inmates who are dangerous or do not follow the prison's rules — on Aug. 25. Law enforcement officials said Bridges manipulated his cell door so it wouldn't latch, forced the door open as an officer approached, knocked the officer over with the door and then stabbed him.
Bridges first appearance on Monday was held at the North Dakota State Penitentiary rather than at the Burleigh County Courthouse for safety reasons. The judge, prosecutor and other court personnel were at the prison while the general public could watch via interactive video network at the Burleigh County Courthouse.
Bridges was wheeled into the hearing room strapped into a restraining device. He was advised of his rights and the charges against him during the short hearing.
The next hearing in the case is a preliminary hearing, at which time prosecutors will have to prove there is probable cause for the case to go to trial.