Inmate sentenced to 20 years for attack of Correctional Officer

An inmate at the Gulf County Correctional Institution was sentenced to 20 years in prison after being convicted on Nov. 2 of the 2017 stabbing of a correctional officer at the facility. 


Jose Moreira, 30, was one of several prisoners charged with aggravated battery and battery on a law enforcement officer on Oct. 28. The attack that resulted in a corrections officer suffering several stab wounds with a shank-type weapon. One co-defendant entered a plea and a third is awaiting trial. 


Moreira was serving time for prior felony convictions – 2 dealing in stolen property, 3 burglaries, 2 grand thefts, 1 possession of a controlled substance, and 1 felon in possession of a firearm – at the time of the incident, a point that became central to the prosecution’s argument. 


State Attorney Larry Basford said the defendant faced the stiffer sentence after Circuit Court Judge Shonna Young Gay agreed with Gulf County Chief Prosecutor Tracy Smith’s argument that Moreira qualified as a habitual felony offender.  


According to a release from the Office of the State Attorney of the Fourteenth Judicial Circuit of Florida, “aggravated Battery carries a 15-year sentence, but as a habitual felony offender the defendant was facing up to 30 years. 


The release continued to say that statements from the victim gathered during the Office of the Inspector General’s investigation described the incident. 


The victim became involved in the disturbance at the facility and tried to create distance between himself and a group of inmates chasing him with weapons. Moreira was part of that group,” it read. “The victim was knocked to the ground and another correctional officer testified that he saw the defendant making a stabbing like motion at the victim with a weapon.” 


Meet the Editor

Wendy Weitzel, The Star’s digital editor, joined the news outlet in August 2021, as a reporter covering primarily Gulf County.

Prior to then, she interned for Oklahoma-based news wire service Gaylord News and for Oklahoma City-based online newspaper during her four years at the University of Oklahoma, from which she graduated in May with degrees in online journalism and political science.

While at OU, Weitzel was selected as Carnegie-Knight News21 Investigative Fellow among 30 top journalism students from around the country. She also was senior editor managing a 12-person newsroom in coordination with Oklahoma Watch, a non-profit news organization in eastern Oklahoma.

Wendy Weitzel The Star Digital Editor

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