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Conn. prisoner wins $12K verdict over 'putrid' mattress deemed cruel and unusual punishment

A Connecticut prisoner has won a $12,000 verdict by a jury that found his right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment was violated after the prison failed to replace a defective mattress.

The federal jury in Hartford awarded the damages Friday to Harold Bell, who is serving a 12-year prison sentence for first-degree assault.

His attorney, Antonio Ponvert III, says it took about seven months for the prison to replace the mattress, which he says smelled of mildew and was missing much of its stuffing. He called it "putrid."

Ponvert says Bell suffered joint pain, headaches and chronic sleep deprivation.

A spokeswoman for Attorney General George Jepsen says she respects the jury's work and says an appeal is unlikely.

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