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News in Brief
Arkansas: In April, 2005, an unidentified sergeant was fired by the state DOC after the February, 2005, death of Wrightsville Unit prisoner Victor Wright, 28, while on a work detail. Wright complained to the sergeant that eh was not feeling well while on a work detail clearing weeds and chopping grass. Apparently the sergeant denied the prisoners water breaks and hurried them. Upon returning to the prison Wright went to the prison infirmary where he collapsed and died. The sergeant apparently violated prison regulations and then lied about it to investigators when questioned.
California: On April 11, 2005, federal prisoner Peter Scopazzi, 37, was in a fight with five other prisoners at the U.S. Penitentiary Victorville in Adelanto during which he was stabbed several times. Another prisoner was also hospitalized with injuries. On April 16 Scopazzi died. BOP officials had initially denied any alternation had occurred at the prison when contacted by media. Only later did they change their story and reveal the incident and injuries that ensued. No reason was given for the altercation. Scopazzi had been serving a 170 month sentence for possessing methamphetamine and a firearm.
California: On April 21, 2005, 75 black and Hispanic prisoners at the minimum security Oak Glen Conservation Camp rioted and fought each other, using broom sticks and chairs as improvised weapons. Two prisoners were hospitalized with head injuries and 13 others were inured. The three prison guards on duty required reinforcements from the California Highway Patrol and the San Bernardino and Riverside county sheriff's departments to violently suppress the prisoners.
California: On April 23, 2005, Carolyn Suzanne Young, 48, the Yolo County chief probation officer was arrested on drunk driving charges after she slammed her corvette into the rear of another vehicle. She was arrested at the scene for driving under the influence and causing an injury. Young has been a probation officer for 15 years and became interim chief probation officer earlier in 2005 after the department's chief retired.
China: On April 3, 2005, She Xianglin was released from prison where he had been serving a 15 year sentence for killing his wife in 1994. She was released when his wife turned up alive and married to another man. She, a former part time policeman, was arrested and beaten into confessing he had killed his wife when a badly decomposed corpse turned up in a local reservoir after his wife disappeared after a domestic dispute. Originally sentenced to death, She had his sentence commuted to 15 years in prison after he appealed. She said he wanted to be compensated for his 11 years in prison and for justice to be done.
Colorado: On April 21, 2005, Manuel Torrez, 65, a prisoner serving a 14 year racketeering sentence from California, was beaten to death by other prisoners in the Administrative Segregation, or ADX, section of the US Penitentiary in Florence, Colorado. While the US Penitentiary section of the prison has been wracked by violence and murders since it opened, Torrez is the first prisoner to be murdered by fellow prisoners since the ADX opened in 1995 as the most secure federal prison.
Florida: On April 21, 2005, Clovis Claxton, 38, a convicted sex offender, committed suicide less than a day after being released from a mental hospital where he was involuntarily committed two days earlier after threatening to kill himself. Claxton was in a state of despair after signs in his neighborhood with his picture, birth date, address and child rapist" appeared. In 1991 Claxton was convicted of raping a 9 year old girl. Marion county commissioner Randy Harris had proposed posting the signs even though Sheriff Ed Dean had rejected the idea. After Claxton's death Dean told media: I think this is a clear example of an unintended consequence, which can occur when we go beyond what we call police protocol when handling sex offenders. I understand the concern of parents for their children. But we must not allow hysteria to take place." Harris, by contrast said I don't blame his death on the signs.
Florida: On April 21, 2005, Wayne Myers, 24, was convicted by a Martin county jury of second degree murder in the stabbing death of Martin Correctional Center prisoner Richard Jones, 27. Myers was convicted despite the conflicting and recanted testimony of three prisoners. Jones' last words to a prison guard were Wayne stabbed me." Myers' attorney argued dozens of other prisoners at the 1,200 bed prison could have been named Wayne." Jones was stabbed from behind in the prison yard, no weapon was ever found. Myers had been due to be released on 2007 after serving a ten year armed robbery sentence.
Indiana: On April 19, 2005, a jury acquitted Indiana Women's Prison guards William Sanders and Demietrus Spencer of allegedly raping prisoner Deana Lampitok while she was imprisoned at the facility. A third guard, Clifford Barlow, pleaded guilty to one charge of sexual misconduct, a class D felony, for his role in the assault that never occurred. Barlow will receive no jail time under his plea agreement. Lampitok accused the prosecution of dragging the case out for three years; she claimed she was intimidated into having sex with the three guards.
Kentucky: On April 20, 2005, Louisville Metro jail guards Sgt. Robert Arnold, 41, Joshua Spenton, 30 and Scott DeJarnette, 28, were arrested and charged with assault and official misconduct, misdemeanors, for beating, punching and kicking jail prisoner Adrian Garner for five minutes while he was handcuffed. The guards were also suspended from their jobs. The white guards also yelled racial slurs at Garner, who is black, while they beat him.
Louisiana: On April 22, 2005, Joseph Glasper, 64, died in the Orleans Parish jail in New Orleans nine days after his attorneys told a judge the bar owner was not receiving appropriate medical care. Glasper had been in jail less than 30 days, after being convicted of manslaughter for shooting a bar patron and while awaiting sentencing. Glasper's attorney Carol Kolinchak told media: I think it would be inappropriate to draw conclusions right now. What I can say is he was a 64 year old man with health problems, none of which were life threatening at the time he was put in jail. The medications he had been prescribed over the years had been working, and within little over a month f being in jail, he's dead.
Maryland: On March 21, 2005, death penalty opponent Rachel Riffee, 34, was acquitted of electronic harassment charges for sending obscenity laced e mails to a website supporting the death penalty run by Frederick Romano, the brother of a homicide victim. Romano told police he felt threatened by the message which led to the charges against Riffee. Judge Barry Hughes held the messages were protected political speech and dismissed the charges.
Massachusetts: On April 18, 2005, 8 prisoners at the maximum security MCI-Cedar Junction prison seized control of their cell block for several hours after returning to their cells. The prisoners, who were apparently intoxicated, caused minor damage in the unit. Four hours later a tactical squad of 30 guards seized control of the unit and forced the prisoners to return to their cells in a matter of minutes.
Michigan: On April 1, 2005, Melissa LaHaie, 31, was sentenced to a month in jail and 30 months probation after pleading guilty to mailing marijuana to her boyfriend, David Vanalstine, 33, while he was serving a sentence at the Pugsley Correctional Facility in Kingsley. As a probation condition the court forbade LaHaie from having any contact, by phone, mail or visiting, with Vanalstine. LaHaie told the court she sent the marijuana to Vanalstine to be sold in prison to help her financial problems which included $300 a month in collect calls from Vanalstine and sending him money each month.
Nepal: On April 10, 2005, Maoist guerrillas waging a people's war to free their nation from dictatorship and feudalism attacked an army base, a jail and government buildings in Charikot. The attack on the jail freed all 28 prisoners being held there, 15 of whom were imprisoned guerrillas, and left two policemen dead.
New Jersey: On March 31, 2005, Sean Higgins, 30, a guard at the Union County jail in Elizabeth, was charged with raping five women prisoners while on duty and groping himself and 11 other women in exchange for cigarettes, commissary items and candy. All told Higgins was charged with five counts of rape, 15 counts of sexual contact and 19 counts of official misconduct. Prosecutor Theodore Romankow told media: Our investigation with Union County Police detectives uncovered evidence supporting charges that this corrections officer betrayed his badge and his uniform and took advantage of females entrusted to his care for his own selfish sexual gratification.
New Mexico: On April 20, 2005, Robin Rushlo, 49, president of a non profit group that distributes bibles to New Mexico prisoners was arrested on bigamy charges. Police claim he is married to a woman in New Mexico and a woman in Arizona as well. Rushlo was released from the New Mexico prison system in 2004 after serving approximately nine years for second degree murder.
Ohio: On May 7, 2004, Becky Smith, 31, a nurse at the Pickaway Correctional Institution was arrested and charged with smuggling marijuana into the prison on three occasions.
Ohio: On October 12, 2004, a federal grand jury in Cleveland indicted Michael Budd, 43, a major and the second highest ranking officer in the Mahoning county sheriff's office, with civil rights violations for ordering or carrying out the beatings of three prisoners in 2000 and in 2001 who had assaulted jail guards.
Pakistan: On April 20, 2005, seven prisoners escaped from an overcrowded prison in March by breaking through a toilet window and using their turbans to fashion ropes which they used to scale the prison's outer perimeter walls. Most of the prisoners were serving lengthy sentences of more than 20 years.
Tennessee: On April 24, 2005, Keith Drinkard, 38, a prisoner at the Riverbend Maximum Security Institution in Nashville was stabbed to death while he, with two other prisoners, were cleaning common area of the super max prison where prisoners are otherwise confined to their cells some 23 hours a day.
Texas: On April 4, 2005, Ed Aparicio, 48, an Edinburgh district judge on the 92nd state district court shot and killed himself a few hours after resigning from the seat he had held for ten years. Aparicio had been the target of a federal corruption investigation and FBI agents had searched his home in January, 2004. In his resignation letter Aparicio said he was going to devote more time to his family.
Turkey: On December 26, 2005, former political prisoner Sergul Albayrak, 26, poured gasoline on herself and set herself on fire in a square in Istanbul to protest the country's maximum security prison system where torture, murder and other abuses and widespread and commonplace. She survived the ordeal with serious burns over a majority of her body. Albayrak had been imprisoned as a member of the Revolutionary people's Liberation Party-Front, a Marxist organization seeking social justice in Turkey.
Washington: On April 3, 2005, Lynn Johnson, 56, rammed her 1995 Nissan pathfinder into the doors of the Snohomish county jail after claiming she was being chased and needed to get into the jail. Johnson was promptly arrested at the scene, charged with malicious mischief and imprisoned.
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