Assault charge filed against inmate awaiting trial for homicide

Dec. 1—WILKES-BARRE — An inmate at the Luzerne County Correctional Facility awaiting trial for a 2021 homicide was charged with assault for allegedly punching another prisoner and fracturing his nose.

The alleged assault by Charles Bierly, 24, of Wilkes-Barre took place on July 19 while he was playing cards in a day room with other inmates.

Bierly has been held without bail at the prison for more than a year following his arrest for allegedly killing Judith Comisky in her Willow Street house in Wilkes-Barre on Sept. 16, 2021. Police also charged James Raymond Alberto, 33, of Wilkes-Barre in Comisky's death. Bierly's bail was set at $10,000 in the most recent case, but he was unable to post it.

The complaint filed Wednesday said a detective with the county District Attorney's Office was contacted on July 25 about an assault that required an inmate to be taken to Wilkes-Barre General Hospital's emergency room. A correction's officer provided a copy of the video recording of the assault and a letter from the victim William Southard.

The complaint said the detective interviewed Southard, 24, who relayed his account of the assault. Southard said Bierly called him a name and told him he was going to ruin Southard's parole. Southard described Bierly as having a bad attitude and taking it out on other inmates since being housed in the day room with them for the past two to three months.

The complaint stated that Southard responded his parole was not going to be ruined by Bierly, adding "that when you go upstate and treat people the same way that you treat people in here, there are going to be some people who are not going to let it go." Upon hearing that Bierly stood up from the table and clenched his fists. Southard told Bierly he did not want any trouble, would not fight back and Bierly would be sent to the "hole" if he hit Southard.

Southard told the detective Bierly struck him repeatedly in the face and head area. Afterward a bleeding Southard rang the buzzer for the corrections officers.

The complaint said Southard was taken for medical treatment and informed his nose was fractured in two places. Further examination concluded Southard would need surgery that would be set up.

The complaint said the video of the assault showed Southard was seated and did not defend himself against Bierly.

Court records listed Southard as being paroled on Sept. 15.

Reach Jerry Lynott at 570-991-6120 or on Twitter @TLJerryLynott.