- Associated Press - Thursday, July 10, 2014

EUGENE, Ore. (AP) - An inmate who told FBI agents he was “at war with the world” has been convicted a second time for attacks on other inmates at the federal prison in Yamhill County.

On Wednesday, a jury in federal court in Eugene found Thomas William Cornelius guilty of trying to murder a handcuffed inmate last summer by slashing his throat with a razor blade.

The inmates were in the recreation cage at the Federal Correctional Institution at Sheridan, the Eugene Register-Guard (https://bit.ly/1oGmvo7) reported.

Authorities said Cornelius, 49, was angered because inmate Kevin Schultz hadn’t delivered a letter to a female prisoner on his behalf. Cornelius attempted to cut Schultz’s throat.

Schultz was treated for three lacerations, the deepest of which was 2 inches long and exposed his trachea, court records said.

In April, Cornelius was convicted of stabbing and clubbing Randy Mainwaring, a former Eugene banker serving time for fraud and identity theft. Cornelius was acquitted of the most serious charge, attempted murder.

He is now awaiting sentencing in both cases.

Authorities said after guards removed Schultz from the cage, Cornelius took two other inmates hostage, holding the razor blade to the throat of one. He eventually surrendered without harming the other two inmates.

One of those inmates was Chet Evans, once described by the FBI as the “Tall Man” bandit during a series of bank robberies in Eugene and Springfield in early 2013.

Evans testified that Cornelius, before surrendering, told prison officials that a guard could end the standoff by shooting him.

A day after the attack, court documents said, Cornelius used the “at war with the world” language in an interview with federal agents and said he hoped to be sentenced to death.

In another case from 2011, Cornelius faces a charge of being an armed career criminal, which could keep him in prison for life if he’s convicted.

At the time, he was on supervised release after serving 15 years for robbery and assault. A Coos County traffic stop turned up a number of guns, including some that were stolen.


Information from: The Register-Guard, https://www.registerguard.com

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