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News in Brief

Alabama: On June 13, 2012, two state prisoners picking up trash on an outside road crew were hit by a vehicle on Interstate 10 near Loxley. One, Kenric Turner, was killed; the other, Kelvin Dejan Jordan, was transported by helicopter to the University of South Alabama Medical Center. The Department of Public Safety and local police are investigating the accident.

Arizona: A federal prison employee at FCI Phoenix was indicted on June 20, 2012 on 13 counts of sexual assault. Joe A. Martinez, 48, is accused of sexually abusing two female prisoners from 2008 to 2010, according to a joint investigation by the Bureau of Prisons and the FBI. Most of the assaults occurred near a scrapyard at the facility.

Arizona: Shortly after being convicted of arson for burning down his $3.5 million mansion, ex-Wall Street trader Michael Marin, 53, appeared to put something in his mouth while sitting in the courtroom, then went into convulsions and quickly died. The June 2012 incident was caught on camera; law enforcement officials later found a container labeled “sodium cyanide” in Marin’s vehicle. He reportedly torched his house because he couldn’t make the $17,000 mortgage payments, and faced almost 16 years in prison following his conviction.

Arkansas: According to Crittenden County jail officials, prisoner Robert Turner, Jr. shot himself in the knee with a .25-caliber handgun on June 25, 2012. Turner likely obtained the handgun from one of three former jail guards who had been arrested a week before the shooting incident for smuggling contraband into the facility, including cell phones and tobacco. Chief Deputy Mike Callender said investigators weren’t aware that a gun had been brought into the jail because they “didn’t ask the right questions” when questioning the former guards – Antonio Tillis, 35, Joe Jimerson, 30, and Quirino Franklin, 35.
California: Lompoc prison employee Timothy McNally, 32, has been charged with second-degree murder for the March 8, 2012 killing of Victorville federal prison guard Gary Bent in a hotel room. Both were attending joint training at Lompoc; Bent was found dead in McNally’s room with a fatal gunshot wound to his neck. A toxicology report indicated that Bent and McNally may have been using illegal drugs – possibly cocaine or methamphetamines. According to a police detective, McNally was “playing” with a 9mm pistol at the time of the shooting, and sent a text to one of his friends that said, “Damn ... I just shot my friend in the damn neck.... Whoops....”

California: On June 19, 2012, an estimated 69 prisoners at the Salinas Valley State Prison engaged in a riot and mass fight on a recreation yard, resulting in at least 19 injuries. Prison guards responded with rubber bullets and chemical agents; one staff injury was reported, though it was not due to the riot. One of the injured prisoners was transported by helicopter to a hospital. The disturbance was classified as a level two mass casualty incident by Monterey County emergency medical services staff, and the prison was placed on lockdown.

Canada: The body of convicted murderer Rory Helson Wagner, 53, was found in a wooded area in British Columbia on May 30, 2012, partially eaten by a black bear. He was on parole for his involvement in killing a man accused of sexually assaulting a relative. Investigators said Wagner was already dead in his car when the bear broke in, dragged his body from the vehicle and ate parts of him. Drug paraphernalia and a bottle of alcohol were found in Wagner’s vehicle.

Colorado: Former Florence federal supermax prisoner James Duckett, 48, was sentenced on May 11, 2012 to 42 months in prison in connection with the 2005 murder of prisoner Gregory Joiner at Florence. Duckett pleaded guilty to assault just before going to trial; he had held Joiner while another prisoner, Dominic Stewart, beat and stomped him to death. Stewart was convicted of second-degree murder and sentenced to life. Had he not killed Joiner, Stewart would have been eligible for parole in 2013.

District of Columbia: The Bureau of Prisons announced on June 22, 2012 that guards at seven federal facilities, including USP Atwater, would be allowed to carry pepper spray to use against violent prisoners. The policy change was prompted by the June 2008 death of USP Atwater guard Jose Rivera, who was fatally stabbed by two prisoners, James Leon Guerrero and Joseph Cabrera Sablan. [See: PLN, Aug. 2009, p.10; Jan. 2009, p.50]. The pilot pepper spray program will also be implemented at selected federal prisons in Colorado, Pennsylvania, Florida, Virginia and Louisiana. Guards at the BOP supermax facility in Florence, Colorado are already allowed to carry batons.

Florida: On May 3, 2012, Franzetta Mathis, 42, a guard at the MTC-operated Gadsden Correctional Institution, was arrested on charges of grand theft and destruction of evidence. She is accused of pocketing a wallet dropped by a patient at the Capital Regional Medical Center, where she and another officer were guarding a prisoner. The theft of the wallet, which reportedly contained $8,400, was captured on surveillance video. When confronted, Mathis said she had burned the wallet after removing the money.

Georgia: Attorney Michael Stuart Winner was accused of offering to deliver drugs and tobacco to female prisoners at the Cobb County Jail in exchange for the prisoners exposing their breasts, according to April 2012 news reports. Winner, 45, also reportedly exposed himself to a female prisoner during an attorney-client meeting at the jail. He was arrested on felony charges that included conspiracy to commit crime, unlawful trading with prisoners and drug-related offenses.

Illinois: On May 11, 2012, two pretrial detainees at the St. Clair County Jail, Teryun Jackson, 22, and Marlon K. Jackson, 23, assaulted a third prisoner who was not identified. During the attack, Teryun Jackson bit off a piece of the victim’s ear and flushed it down a toilet. Teryun and Marlon were charged with aggravated battery and mob action, and held under $100,000 bonds in addition to their pre-existing bonds. The victim will reportedly need surgery to repair his damaged ear.

Mississippi: A riot broke out at the Wilkinson County Correctional Facility in Woodville on June 19, 2012. Prisoners fought each other in several areas of the prison; there were 23 reported injuries during the hour-long incident, and three prisoners were transported to an outside hospital. The 1,000-bed facility is operated by Corrections Corporation of America and holds state prisoners.

Nebraska: Former prison guard Michael Huston, 33, was sentenced on July 17, 2012 after pleading guilty to a misdemeanor charge that he had sex with a parolee. Since parolees are under the control of the Department of Corrections, they are still considered prisoners – and it is illegal for prison employees to have sexual contact with prisoners, whether consensual or not. Although Huston initially denied having sex with the parolee, the parolee became pregnant and gave birth to a girl, which Huston announced in a birth notice published in a local paper. He was ordered to pay a $250 fine plus court costs after entering his guilty plea.

New York: Former Tioga County Jail Lt. David Monell pleaded not guilty on June 11, 2012 to federal charges of violating the civil rights of prisoner David Coffey during a June 2010 incident in which Monell assaulted Coffey while he was handcuffed to a bench. Monell, who resigned two days after the beating, had been named “2010 Corrections Officer of the Year.” The assault was captured on video and the county settled a lawsuit filed by Coffey for $62,000.

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