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Nathan Redcap may have been behind bars, but he was well prepared for an attack on a fellow Utah State Prison inmate more than five years ago.

Using rope fashioned from torn bedsheets, Redcap strapped magazines to his torso for body armor. He tied a deadly metal "shank" to each hand. Then he hid in a shower, waiting for Cameron Wilson to be released from his cell to collect his laundry bag, according to evidence at a 3rd District Court trial last week.

During the ensuing fight on the evening of Nov. 29, 2005, Redcap inflicted a number of cuts, scratches and puncture wounds — one that just missed Wilson's carotid artery.

Prosecutors charged Redcap with first-degree felony attempted aggravated murder. On Friday, after a three-day trial, a jury convicted the 27-year-old inmate of a lesser count of second-degree felony aggravated assault, as well as two counts of second-degree felony possession of prohibited items in a correctional facility.

Redcap — already serving up to life in prison for raping a woman a decade ago — faces an additional term of up to 45 years when he is sentenced April 18 by Judge Deno Himonas.

Defense attorney David Berceau claimed Redcap was acting in self-defense after shouted death threats from Wilson.

Calling the prison system "so inhumane it drives men to madness and fuels violence between them," Berceau noted that inmates must handle disputes themselves because they cannot turn to prison officers for help.

Wilson, 28, who is on parole for forgery convictions, proved Berceau's point by refusing to testify against Redcap. He cited the fear of being labeled a "snitch" or "rat" in the event he returns to prison.

Prosecutor Vincent Meister, however, insisted that if Redcap feared for his life, all he had to do was stay in his cell. Because the two inmates had fought three years earlier, prison officers never allowed them out at the same time.

Instead, Meister said, Redcap painstakingly armed himself, then lay in wait for Wilson before doing his best to try to kill him. As the aggressor, Meister said, Redcap cannot claim self-defense.

The initial portion of the four-minute fight was caught on prison surveillance video, which was played for the jury.

The two inmates can be seen circling one another several times before they disappear from the camera's view. Prison Sgt. Alan Zimmerman testified about what happened next, saying he arrived to see Wilson astride Redcap and holding the other man's wrists in an effort to keep from being stabbed.

Officers fired two volleys of pepper spray before Wilson pushed Redcap's hands away, jumped up and ran to a nearby shower, where he locked himself inside. Zimmerman said it required an additional shot from the pepper-ball gun to convince Redcap to begin untying the weapons from his hands.

Fastened to Redcap's left hand was a sharpened 4-inch-long piece of metal, likely made from the bolt in the handle of a crutch, Zimmerman said. Tied to the inmate's right hand was a sharpened 10-inch-long piece of hollow tubing, that was probably part of a crutch leg, he said. And when Redcap removed a long-sleeved sweatshirt, several magazines tied to his chest and abdomen fell to the floor.

The improvised body armor will stop, or at least slow, an edged weapon, Zimmerman said, adding that it also can repel weapons used by prison officers, such as Tasers and sting grenades filled with small rubber balls.

Zimmerman said that by tying the shanks to his hands, Redcap was trying to keep the weapons from being taken and used against him.

During a subsequent search of Redcap's cell, officers found drawings depicting killings of various types. One drawing shows an inmate hiding behind stairs and another inmate lying in a pool of blood with a shank protruding from his neck. Another shows an inmate holding a shank in his hand and an inmate in a pool of blood, a shank in his back.

Meister said the drawings were further proof of Redcap's intent to kill. Berceau, however, claimed the drawings were simply ideas for possible tattoos.

Redcap came to prison in 2002 for raping and beating a 19-year-old woman in August 2001.

Then 17, Redcap had absconded from a youth program with another teen, and both were staying at a South Salt Lake motel when they invited the woman to party with them. Redcap and the other teen took turns sexually assaulting the woman, then beat her and left her for dead, according to news reports.

Redcap, who pleaded guilty to first-degree felony rape and second-degree felony attempted murder, has a parole hearing in August 2016.

In a pending case, Redcap is charged with first-degree felony forcible sodomy for allegedly raping a prison cell mate in 2007.