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Jury finds inmate guilty of battering bailiff

A jail inmate accused of trying to kill a bailiff by choking him in a courthouse holding cell was found guilty Thursday of the lesser charge of battery on a law enforcement officer.

Prosecutors said Kevin McCarthy, 38, was in a cell awaiting a routine court hearing Nov. 5, 1996, when he wrapped a strip of nylon around the neck of bailiff Michael Panos and choked him. Both men fell to the ground, and Panos, 57, banged his head and dislocated a finger in the struggle.

This week, McCarthy's attorney argued that McCarthy had AIDS, wasn't getting proper medical treatment and was desperate to get out of jail. A jury found him guilty of the battery charge instead of attempted murder.

The prosecutor will ask a judge to sentence McCarthy as a habitual offender to 10 years in prison at a hearing Dec. 15.