A Mills man on Wednesday was sentenced to eight to 10 years at the Wyoming State Penitentary for a brutal attack on a fellow inmate in the Natrona County jail in February.

John Kosmata pleaded guilty to the sole count of aggravated assault in May.

In exchange for the plea, prosecutors sought no more than a five- to 10-year sentence for  Kosmata. They also decided not to seek habitual offender’s status for him, which would have enhanced his sentence.

Before Natrona County District Court Judge Catherine Wilking handed down the sentence, the clean-shaven defendant told her he had lifelong struggles with alcohol and drugs, and they were the cause of many of his crimes.

Kosmata said he always cooperated with authorities in previous cases.

While at the Natrona County Detention Center, Kosmata said helped inmates with minor legal issues, helped them obtain bail, and offered spiritual help.

He sought and received psychological and psychiatric help, and the medicines he now takes have calmed his post traumatic stress disorder.

Kosmata, who was 46 when he was arrested in February, admitted what he did was wrong.

"I don't want to be remembered as this kind of person," he said. "I just ask for leniency from the court."

Wilking was not persuaded.

She went for the high end of the prosecutors' recommendations.

"Probation is not appropriate in this case due to the injuries and a dismal criminal history," she said.

The case started Feb. 5 when deputies at the jail found inmate Michael Rollins lying in a pool of blood with injuries that suggested he was attacked, according to court records.

One laceration was deep enough that his skull was visible. The inmate was taken to the ICU at the Wyoming Medical Center and put on a ventilator.

Witnesses said Kosmata was angry about other inmates being loud after lights out.

While arguing with another inmate, Rollins approached and insulted Kosmata, who threw the first punch.

At the time, Kosmata was incarcerated on an unrelated crime of domestic violence.