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News in Brief
Australia: Sean Stephen Hatten, 29, serving a 13-year sentence at the Capricornia Correctional Centre for attempted murder, slashed another prisoner’s throat with a prison-issued razor on April 13, 2011. In court for that offense in May 2012, prosecutors said he told guards at the time that he was “having a bad day.” Hatten received a 15-year prison term for the “calculated and premeditated attack” on the other prisoner, which occurred while he was standing in line to make a hot drink.
California: Anthony “Chopper” Garcia was in the news in 2011 when he was arrested for and convicted of murder, partly because he had had a picture of the crime scene tattooed on his chest. In March 2012, it was reported that Garcia received over $30,000 in unemployment benefits while in jail awaiting trial from 2008 to 2010. His father and two girl-friends were accused of cashing the unemployment checks and depositing them in his jail account and those of other gang members. Garcia’s father, Juan Garcia, and his girlfriends, Sandra Jaimez and Cynthia Limas, were arrested on charges that included grand theft.
Colorado: In April 2012, the Arapahoe County Commission voted to change the name of the Patrick J. Sullivan Detention Center. The jail, named for the former sheriff, will now be called the Arapahoe County Detention Center. Sullivan, 69, was arrested in November 2011 and pleaded guilty to possession of methamphetamine and soliciting prostitution following an undercover sting involving his gay lover. He was sentenced to 30 days in jail, two years probation and a $1,100 fine, and was released on April 21, 2012 after serving 17 days.
Florida: The Pinellas County Jail uses a video visitation system, which apparently is closely monitored by jail staff. Mitchell Thomas, 46, learned that the hard way when he visited his wife, who was incarcerated at the jail, and exposed his genitals to her during their video visit on May 1, 2012. He was arrested on a misdemeanor charge for exposing himself. Such incidents evidently are not very common. “This is the first I’ve heard of it,” said Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Cecilia Barreda.
Georgia: Clayton County prisoner Kevin Garard Guerrier, 26, was in court on April 6, 2012 for a hearing on child support and a temporary protective order when he became disruptive, was ordered removed from the courtroom and struggled with deputies. He was rendered unconscious and hospitalized, then died 10 days later. The sheriff’s office and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation are investigating his death.
Israel: A majority of the 4,699 Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails refused to eat on Prisoners’ Day, April 17, 2012. Around 1,200 prisoners said they would continue to fast in protest of unfair conditions, according to news reports. Most of the Palestinian prisoners (3,864) are from the West Bank; over 300 are being held under Israeli’s policy of “administrative detention,” in which suspects are imprisoned for an indefinite period of time without being charged. Palestinian prisoner Khader Adnan, 33, who was held in administrative detention and had previously staged a 66-day hunger strike, was released on April 17.
Maine: Cumberland County jail prisoner Arien L’Italien, 23, was caught on March 10, 2012 as he tried to crawl back to his unit after visiting a female prisoner and having consensual sex with her in her cell. Both L’Italien and his imprisoned paramour, Karla Wilson, 25, had jammed the locks on their cell doors to facilitate the late-night rendezvous.
Maine: In April 2012, the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention reported that one prisoner had died and around 40 other prisoners and several staff members at another prison were sick due to a flu outbreak. “Correctional Medical Services, which provides health services to both facilities reported that influenza vaccination coverage among inmates was very low (less than 10 percent), and coverage among staff members was unknown but believed to be low,” according to the Center. Both prisoners and employees were offered vaccinations following the outbreak.
Maine: State prison guard Randall Carl, 46, was convicted of animal cruelty on April 23, 2012 for tying a captured bobcat to a pole and allowing hunting dogs to attack and kill it. The February 2009 incident was videotaped as part of a “training exercise.” After being convicted at a jury trial in Waldo County Superior Court, Carl received a 15-month sentence, suspended except for 10 days, and was fined more than $1,300.
Nebraska: In a bizarre incident, a woman who didn’t want to meet with her probation officer asked two friends to stab her so she could go to the hospital instead. Jessalyn A. Stierwalt, 22, had been drinking heavily and wanted time to sober up before meeting with her probation officer, who was going to install an alcohol-monitoring device. She therefore had two friends, Scott Roberson-Turman and Kerry L. Duke II, stab her in the shoulder and stomach. All three were charged with various offenses and pleaded no contest to misdemeanor obstruction of government operations. Stierwalt and Roberson-Turman were sentenced on April 18, 2012 to 12 months in prison. “It takes stupidity to a new extreme,” noted Gage County District Judge Paul Korslund.
North Carolina: Mountain View Correctional Facility guard William Wright, 31, died on April 11, 2012 after falling down a metal staircase while on duty. He was taken to a hospital after the accident and was released the following day, but died several days later due to complications from a head injury. His death is being investigated by state and federal authorities.
Oregon: Prison guard Michael Wilson Yann, 39, was arrested on April 15, 2012 after he shot at police officers with a 9mm pistol during a standoff at his home. Police had responded to a report of an intoxicated man in the street. Yann was booked into the Marion County jail on charges of aggravated attempted murder, attempted murder and disorderly conduct, and held without bond. He was placed on administrative leave by the Department of Corrections, where he worked as a transportation officer.
Pakistan: On April 15, 2012, 384 prisoners, including one sentenced to death, escaped from the Bannu Central Jail after the facility was attacked by members of the Taliban, who used assault rifles and rocket-propelled grenades. “There were huge explosions. Plaster from the ceilings fell on us,” stated prisoner Malik Nazeef. “Then there was gunfire. We didn’t know what was happening.” The jail’s metal gates were blown open and the attackers shot locks off doors. One of the escapees, Adnan Rasheed, was under a death sentence for trying to assassinate Pakistan president Pervez Musharraf.
Pennsylvania: A federal criminal information was filed on March 23, 2012 against BOP guard Donald E. Lykon, 30, who was accused of smuggling cellphones, tobacco and marijuana into USP Canaan over a four-month period in 2011. Lykon allegedly accepted over $5,000 in bribes from prisoners to deliver the contraband. Concurrently with the filing of the criminal information, he pleaded guilty to felony charges of accepting bribes and distributing marijuana.
Pennsylvania: On April 2, 2012, a Monroe County jury imposed a death sentence on former prison guard Michael Parrish, 26, who was convicted of first-degree murder for killing his girlfriend, Victoria Adams, and infant son, Sidney. Formerly a white supremacist, Parrish had converted to Islam; he shot Adams and his son a dozen times in July 2009, then told police the next day that he didn’t deserve to live. The jury apparently agreed.
Tennessee: Court of Criminal Appeals judge Jerry L. Smith was arrested in Knoxville on April 23, 2012 on a misdemeanor DUI charge. He was pulled over because he was driving a car with the back hatch open; according to the arresting officers he smelled of alcohol, had slurred speech and failed a sobriety test. Smith pleaded guilty to the DUI charge on June 23, 2012 – his license was suspended and he was sentenced to 48 hours in jail. He later returned to work. The Tennessee legislature has not removed a judge from office in 18 years.
Texas: The Crain Unit near Gatesville, which houses female prisoners, has become overrun by feral cats. According to an April 16, 2012 Associated Press article, a local non-profit group, Kathy’s Kitties, volunteered to have the estimated 150 to 175 cats at the prison neutered at no cost to the state. The felines would also be treated for fleas and ticks, and receive rabies shots. Prison officials had been trapping the cats and euthanizing them.
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