SUNBURY - An inmate at SCI-Coal Township charged with stabbing another inmate in the neck with a six-inch metal shank in December 2011 will face trial on multiple charges in May.

During a brief pre-trial conference Tuesday morning, President Judge Robert B. Sacavage said jury selection in the attempted homicide case for 23-year-old Ramon Aikeen Frazier will begin May 6. Frazier's trial will follow the completion of jury selection.

Sacavage set the date after conferring with Frazier's attorney, James Best of Sunbury, and District Attorney Tony Rosini. The judge ordered Rosini to turn over discovery evidence to Best, who must file any pre-trial motions within 30 days. Another pre-trial conference in the case has been scheduled for April 5.

Best, who serves as independent conflicts counsel for the county, was reassigned the case last week from Northumberland County Public Defender Michael Romance.

Frazier is charged with felonies of criminal attempt to commit homicide, aggravated assault (two counts) and assault by a prisoner, and misdemeanors of possessing instruments of crime and possessing a prohibited offensive weapon.

The charges were filed by Troopers Ronald Zanella and Kevin Kearney of state police at Stonington.

Surgery required

Frazier is accused of stabbing 24-year-old inmate Dashawn Anthony Harris, in the neck with a six-inch metal shank made from a piece of heavy-gauge fencing while the victim was playing basketball in the west yard of the state correctional institution at 2:20 p.m. Dec. 1, 2011.

Police said Harris, who was attacked from behind and had the metal shank stuck in the right side of his neck, was conscious but complained of having no feeling in his limbs upon being treated at the scene and transported to Geisinger Medical Center in Danville.

Harris, who was admitted to Geisinger with what police described as a potentially life-threatening injury, required "emergency operative intervention" by a neurosurgeon. He was returned to SCI-Coal Township, but is still undergoing physical therapy for his injury, according to police.

Police said Frazier is a native of Delaware and resided in the Pittsburgh area at one time.

According to prison records, Frazier is serving a 2 1/2 to 7-year state prison sentence on criminal conspiracy and robbery charges committed in Northampton County. Frazier was committed to the state prison system May 2, 2007, and was incarcerated at SCI-Pine Grove on July 26, 2007. He remained at SCI-Pine Grove before being transferred to SCI-Coal Township on April 12, 2010.

Harris, who is from the Pittsburgh area, is serving a 7 1/2 to 20-year state prison sentence for first-degree murder committed in Allegheny County. He was incarcerated at SCI-Pine Grove on Sept. 13, 2007, and remained there until being transferred to SCI-Coal Township on Nov. 15, 2011.