Inmate gets extra 15 years for assault that left corrections sergeant partially blind

An Oak Park Heights inmate has been ordered to spend an extra 15 years in prison for an attack last year that left a correctional sergeant partially blind.

Dominique Antoine Jefferson, 37, pleaded guilty on Thursday to first-degree assault and was sentenced Friday. He’s already serving a 35-year sentence for aiding and abetting a 2004 murder.

According to court documents, Jefferson asked to talk to a member of the prison’s crisis intervention team on Jan. 15, 2023. The correctional sergeant came up to him and said she was part of that team but he replied that he didn’t want to talk to her so she told him to “switch in” and return to his cell. Jefferson replied, “Better ring the bell. I ain’t switching in. I’ve been waiting for you,” then punched her in the eye, a criminal complaint states.

The sergeant was taken to a trauma center for treatment to her eye and several facial fractures but has permanently lost vision in her right eye, the Minnesota Department of Corrections says. She also continues to receive follow-up care.

“In a profession already burdened with the challenges of ensuring safety and order, correctional officers should never have to face the added threat of violence,” Washington County Attorney Kevin Magnuson said. “We commend the courageous correctional sergeant for her resilience in the face of adversity, and we continue to prioritize our commitment to pursuing justice in support of the safety and well-being of those who serve within our correctional facilities.”