Ind. inmate found guilty of attacking officer with edged weapon
"The attempted murder of a correctional officer isn't something we can ever turn a blind eye to," the prosecuting attorney said
By Kim Dunlap
PERU, Ind. — A Miami Correctional Facility inmate accused of attacking a correctional officer with an edged weapon in July 2020 has been convicted in the matter.
On Thursday, a jury found Raul Sotelo, of Lake County, guilty of attempted murder, a Level 1 felony, aggravated battery, a Level 5 felony, battery with bodily injury to a public safety officer, a Level 5 felony, and battery by means of a deadly weapon, a Level 5 felony, for his connection to a July 1, 2020, incident involving Officer Mackenzie Malott.
According to court documents, Malott was assigned to MCF's Phase 1 yard on the day of the incident, and he was conducting searches of the inmates when Sotelo "attacked him with a homemade edged weapon that consisted of a razor blade wrapped with cardboard as a handle."
During the attack, Sotelo slashed Malott on the left side of his face, court records indicate, leaving a gash from the back of his jawline to his chin.
Authorities say that that gash — which required eight stitches and also left a permanent scar — ended up being approximately 5 inches in length and about a half-inch deep, and court records note that Sotelo also attempted to slice Malott in the lower abdomen during the attack.
And during an interview with police about the incident, according to court documents, Sotelo told investigators that it was "his intention to kill Officer Malott."
Sotelo was already serving a life sentence with the possibility of parole for his conviction in the September 1973 murder of a 12-year-old Lake County girl.
According to records from that case, authorities located the girl's body, naked and crushed, in an isolated part of a cemetery.
Sotelo, who was 18 at the time, first denied any involvement in the death, police reports indicated at the time, though he later confessed to killing the girl by rolling over her multiple times with a vehicle after she refused to have sexual intercourse with him.
Miami County Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Courtney Alwine — who prosecuted the most recent case against Sotelo — briefly discussed that 1973 murder with the Tribune and how important it was to get this most recent conviction.
"While this could seem like an unnecessary trial considering his prior sentence, Mr. Sotelo was eligible to appear before the parole board and could have been released at any time," Alwine said. "Securing this conviction guarantees Raul Sotelo will never be released from the Indiana Department of Correction. The attempted murder of a correctional officer isn't something we can ever turn a blind eye to."
Sotelo will be sentenced at 3 p.m. Wednesday, May 4, in Miami Superior Court I.
(c)2022 the Kokomo Tribune (Kokomo, Ind.)