A Lorton inmate who was stabbed and beaten while sleeping in his cell was awarded $161,000 yesterday by a U.S. District Court jury.

Gerald B. Murphy, 21, of 1505 Bruce Pl, SE, was stabbed 15 times with a shank - a metal object - and left partially paralyzed after the attack, which occured Nov. 28, 1976.

A jury of five women and one man deliberated for about an hour yesterday before finding the District of Columbia negligent in providing adequate safety for Murphy at the Lorton Youth Correctional Facility.

Murphy, convicted of burglary and robbery, had been in Lorton for six months when the attack occurred. His lawyer, Lewis B. Fireison, told jurors that six other inmates had entered Murphy's "cell" while he slept, which was against Lorton rules.

Fireison also told jurors that the attack, which severed a nerve in Murphy's neck, occurred during an inmate count - a time when prison rules state that all inmates are to remain stationary.

Murphy is now confined to a wheelchair. He is serving an indeterminate sentence under the Youth Corrections Act.

The week-long trial, held before U.S. District Judge Aubrey Robinson, produced no evidence of provocation by Murphy before the attack, according to William Earl, a lawyer for the city corporation counsel.