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27-year-old inmate gets 36-50 years for assault on two prison staff members
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27-year-old inmate gets 36-50 years for assault on two prison staff members

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A 27-year-old inmate has been sentenced to 36 to 50 years more time for a serious assault at the Nebraska State Penitentiary last year that sent staff members to the hospital with injuries.

Joshua Collins, formerly of North Platte, pleaded guilty to charges of assault on an officer causing serious injury and second-degree assault.

Joshua Collins


Lancaster County District Judge Susan Strong sentenced him Wednesday. 

Prosecutors said that on Feb. 22, 2020, Collins viciously struck a case worker, knocking him unconscious by punching him in the head and face, then emptying his pepper spray canister on him and violently hitting him in the head with the empty canister. 

When another staffer arrived, the inmate hit him in the head numerous times with the pepper spray canister. The staffer was able to use his pepper spray on the inmate, who was restrained when help arrived.

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The case worker suffered serious injuries to his head and brain.

The case manager suffered cuts to his head that required staples to close.

At the time, Collins had been nearing his parole eligibility on a 9- to 16-year sentence on robbery, burglary and weapons charges out of Lincoln County in 2016. 

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Reach the writer at 402-473-7237 or

On Twitter @LJSpilger


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Public safety reporter

Lori Pilger is a Norfolk native and University of Nebraska-Lincoln graduate who has been a public safety reporter for the Journal Star since 2005.

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