Man Deemed 'Habitual Criminal' Gets Life in Prison

RENO, Nev. (AP) - A man convicted on burglary and car-theft charges after stabbing his lawyer with a pencil in court has been sentenced to two life prison terms without the possibility of parole.

A Washoe County District judge ruled Friday that 53-year-old Bruce Harrison Birch is a habitual criminal. Birch has 32 prior convictions, including 11 felonies.

Just before closing arguments in a recent trial, Birch stabbed his lawyer in the hand with a pencil. The district attorneys office is investigating the incident for possible charges.

In each of the recent court hearings, Birch was ordered to wear a net across the lower part of his face to stop him from spitting.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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