Johnny Lee Alexander

Johnny Lee Alexander

SOMERSET – A convicted murderer will stand trial in Somerset County court, accused of attacking a corrections officer inside an SCI-Somerset housing unit in February.

Johnny Lee Alexander, 57, a Philadelphia native, waived his right to a preliminary hearing on Friday before District Judge Sandra Stevanus, of New Centerville.

The assault allegedly happened at around 2 p.m. Feb. 10 after a corrections officer tried to get Alexander to remove food from the prison's Delta Alpha dayroom, but he refused.

As the officer turned away to report the issue, Alexander allegedly punched him several times in the face, knocking out several teeth and leaving him with a bruised face. The officer allegedly needed stitches in his upper and lower lips.

The corrections officer has not worked since the incident and remains under the care of several doctors, District Attorney Lisa Lazzari-Strasiser said after the proceeding that was held at the Somerset County Courthouse.

"The facts of this case just show the risk to corrections officers," she said.

According to information provided by the state Department of Corrections, Alexander has been in the state prison system since Jan. 15, 1986.

Court records show that Alexander was sentenced to life in prison for a 1984 homicide. He was one of three men charged with robbing and shooting a known drug dealer and his wife inside a Philadelphia apartment, according to court documents. The man was killed, but the woman survived.

Alexander's conviction followed years of arrests and convictions for robbery and assault-related charges in Philadelphia, court records show.

He is being held at SCI-Fayette in Labelle.

Patrick Buchnowski is a reporter for The Tribune-Democrat. He can be reached at 532-5061. Follow him on Twitter @PatBuchnowskiTD.