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Press Release

Two Men Indicted for Assaulting Correctional Officers at U.S. Penitentiary Atwater

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of California

FRESNO, Calif. — A federal grand jury returned an indictment today against Daniel Higgins, 38, of Morro Bay, and Austin Noblitt, 33, of Portland, Oregon, charging each with two counts of assault on a federal officer, U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert announced.

According to court documents, on Nov. 21, 2022, Higgins and Noblitt assaulted two Federal Bureau of Prisons correctional officers at U.S. Penitentiary (USP) Atwater in Merced County. Higgins and Noblitt punched the officers repeatedly on their heads and torsos, causing bodily injuries to both officers.

This case is the product of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Chan Hee Chu and Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeffrey A. Spivak are prosecuting the case..

If convicted, Higgins and Noblitt face a maximum statutory penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine on each count. Any sentence, however, would be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables. The charges are only allegations; the defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

Updated May 4, 2023

Violent Crime