Payson Man Accused Of Stabbing Prison Guard

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Former Payson resident Luke Hilgendorf, who is serving a 25-year prison sentence in Florence for murdering a Payson businessman three years ago, allegedly stabbed a prison guard last week.

Officer Jason Coryell was stabbed three times in the abdomen, apparently by a piece of heavy gauge wire that had been fashioned into a weapon.

Coryell and another guard were escorting Hilgendorf from his maximum security cell Aug. 25 when Coryell was stabbed, Rhonda Cole, public information officer for the Arizona Department of Corrections, said.

The wounded officer was air lifted to Scottsdale Healthcare Osborn, where he underwent emergency surgery.

"He's still in the hospital, and from what we're being told, he'll be in there for another seven to 10 days," Cole said.

Hilgendorf, 22, was sent to prison in May 1998, after a Gila County jury found him guilty of the murder of Payson businessman Clarence Morrison.

"Since he's been at Florence, he's had several other infractions," Cole said, "ranging from disobeying orders to lying to officials. He also did have a physical assault violation in July."

Following the stabbing, Hilgendorf was transferred to the department of correction's special management unit. The stabbing is still under investigation and criminal charges are pending.

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