Man sentenced in Lansing courtroom attack

MASON, MICH. - An Okemos man who attacked an assistant prosecutor with a makeshift knife during a trial last fall has been sentenced to a minimum of 20 years in prison.

Ingham County Circuit Court Judge William Collette sentenced Joshua Harding, 35, to 20 to 60 years in prison for assault with intent to murder and two six years on two weapons offenses in connection with the incident. The sentences will run consecutively to the time Harding is already serving, 19 to 38 years in prison, for a sexual assault conviction. He was in court in August to be sentenced in that case when the attack occurred.

He was ultimately restrained by police and no one was seriously injured.

Harding earlier this year pleaded guilty to the three counts, telling Collette he intended to kill Assistant Ingham County Prosecutor Jonathan Roth during the Aug. 2 hearing in a downtown Lansing courtroom.

No plea bargain was in place, but Collette agreed to sentence Harding to a minimum of 20 years in prison on the assault charge if he pleaded guilty.

Harding chose not to speak to the judge on the matter of his sentence but thanked Collette at the end of the hearing.

"Thank you for making this so easy even a caveman could do it," Harding said.

Harding went to trial last year on two charges stemming from a sexual assault involving two children in a Meridian Township cemetery.

While the jury was coming back to the courtroom with its verdict, Harding lunged at Roth with a makeshift knife but was restrained by police.

Video from that hearing shows Harding appear to pull a weapon out of his sleeve while the jury entered the courtroom with its verdict and run toward Roth.

He was ultimately convicted by that jury on one count of second-degree criminal sexual conduct in that case. The jury could not reach a verdict on the second count, which prosecutors later dismissed.

Under increased security, Harding was sentenced in September to the first prison term by Ingham County Judge James Jamo.

Lansing State Journal


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