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Press Release

Jury Convicts Inmate of Attacking BOP Employee

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of Texas

A federal jury has convicted a prison inmate of attacking a Bureau of Prisons employee, announced Acting U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas Prerak Shah.

After just over an hour of deliberations, a jury on Tuesday found 44-year-old William Lee Terrell guilty of assault of a federal officer resulting in bodily injury. 

According to evidence presented at trial, Mr. Terrell was convicted in 2010 of bank robbery and ordered to serve his 235-month sentence at FCI Big Spring.  On March 23, 2019, Mr. Terrell, who was on suicide watch, was placed under the observation of Human Resource Specialist Krista Coccozza.

As HR Specialist Coccozza attempted to retrieve trash from a meal he had just eaten, Mr. Terrell reached through the food slot in the door, grabbing Specialist Coccozza. He struggled with her, attempting to free the keys to the cell attached to her belt.

Additional guards responded to Coccozza’s calls for help and they were able to eventually free the keys from Terrell and secure his cell.

Specialist Coccozza suffered a bruised lung, bruised ribs, sprained wrist, sprained elbow, sprained fingers, skin abrasions, pain, and redness on her body, and was unable to return to work for a period of time due to her injuries.

Mr. Terrell now faces up to 20 additional years in federal prison. His sentencing hearing has been set for April 29. 

The Federal Bureau of Investigation conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Callie Woolam and Stephen Rancourt are prosecuting the case.  U.S. District Judge James Wesley Hendrix presided over the trial.


Erin Dooley
Public Affairs

Updated April 18, 2023

Violent Crime