Man sentenced for arson, assault while in jail

Bismarck, North Dakota (AP) 9-07

A man has been sentenced to 8 years in prison for setting fire to a jail cell and stabbing a jailer with a pencil, prosecutors said.

Ervin Leo St. Claire Jr., 27, of Belcourt, was sentenced Thursday, the U.S. attorney’s office said in a statement.

St. Claire was charged with arson of government property and assaulting a federal officer.

The arson incident occurred while St. Claire was an inmate at the Turtle Mountain Law Enforcement Center in Belcourt on Jan. 12.

Prosecutors said St. Claire ignited paper and parts of a mattress in his jail cell, which resulted in an evacuation of the entire jail. One of the inmates was taken to the hospital and treated for smoke inhalation, authorities said.

St. Claire was transferred to Bureau of Indian Affairs Correctional Center in March. On April 21, St. Claire stabbed a jailer in the chest and neck with a pencil, prosecutors said.

St. Claire and another inmate then escaped, and were arrested together at a home in Grand Forks on April 29, authorities said.