GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - A Saucier man is headed to prison for attacking a nurse when he was a patient at Memorial Hospital. Lance Shelton Hagin, 35, was sentenced to four and a half years in prison this week following his guilty plea last month.
Hagin was charged with Simple Assault on a Peace Officer, which is a felony, and applies to public health personnel as well as law enforcement and emergency responders.
Assistant District Attorney Alison Baker said, "Not many people know that nurses are protected under this statute."
The assault happened in the early morning hours of March 6, 2016, after Hagin was admitted as a patient. Surveillance cameras captured it all on video.
Prosecutors said Hagin left his room and walked down the hospital's hallway to get the nurse's attention. When she walked out into the hall, Hagin the defendant grabbed her from behind with his arm around her throat, strangling her. He dragged the nurse a few feet, eventually pulling her to the ground. Several other nurses had to come to the nurse's aide to free her from his grasp.
"The defendant raised an insanity defense and underwent lengthy mental examinations prior to his plea before it was ultimately determined by mental health providers that he knew right from wrong and was not legally insane at the time of his crime," said Baker, who prosecuted the case for the District Attorney's office.
While pronouncing his sentence, Circuit Court Judge Larry Bourgeois told the defendant, "This was a violent attack on a woman who was there to help you."
The defendant will serve every day of the sentence without early release as he is a habitual offender due to two prior drug-related felony convictions.