The Times West Virginian

West Virginia

January 10, 2013

Police probe severe beating of state inmate

MORGANTOWN — West Virginia State Police and officials with the Regional Jail Authority are investigating the severe beating of an inmate at the North Central Regional Jail after a fight with a federal prisoner being held at the same facility.

Nineteen-year-old Jeron Hawkins was at Ruby Memorial Hospital in Morgantown on Wednesday, but a spokeswoman wouldn’t comment on his status.

Hawkins suffered “very, very serious head injuries, and his family is being notified,” said Joe DeLong, executive director of the jail authority. Hawkins was still alive as of Wednesday afternoon, he said.

Hawkins was convicted of first-degree murder last fall in the 2011 shooting of 28-year-old Lucas Lee outside a nightclub in Morgantown. He was also convicted of malicious assault and had been sentenced to life in prison. In West Virginia’s overcrowded correctional system, though, convicted felons often languish in regional jails until prison beds open up.

The Clarksburg Exponent-Telegram (http://bit.ly/XkuWbI), which first reported the assault, said Hawkins was in an altercation Monday morning with 35-year-old Anthony Young, a federal inmate who was scheduled to be sentenced last week in a fatal 2006 assault at the U.S. Penitentiary at Hazelton.

Federal court records show that Jan. 3 hearing was postponed.

Young is one of several federal prisoners awaiting sentencing in the attack on Willie Myers, who was beaten and stabbed at least four times during a dispute between members of the Bloods and Crips gangs.

Court records show Young is a member of the Bloods; Myers was a Crip.

Young pleaded guilty in November 2011 to federal charges of conspiracy to commit assault, assault resulting in serious injury and making false statements.

DeLong said Young is among 134 federal inmates currently housed in regional jails across West Virginia under a contract with the U.S. Marshals Service.

“It’s actually very common,” he said.

The agreement has been in place for more than a decade and allows the state to house those inmates until federal beds open up. Typically, he said, they don’t stay long.

Although State Police are investigating and would bring any charges, DeLong said the authority is also conducting an internal review.

“Unfortunately,” he said, “sometimes inmate-on-inmate assaults are unavoidable.”

DeLong said the jails are full of potentially violent offenders, regardless of whether their crimes violated state or federal laws. The jurisdiction is seldom an indicator of what kind of inmate they’ll be.

Those who have already been through the system and sentenced are typically easier to classify than “the turnkey jail population,” whose formal charges may not indicate whether they also have problems with violence, drugs or mental illness.

“As far as the arresting jurisdiction goes,” DeLong said, “it doesn’t really matter.”

In a review last summer, The Associated Press found that the number of inmate-on-inmate attacks in state prisons surged from 64 in 2007 to 148 last year, even though half the population was in for a nonviolent offense.

In the 10 regional jails, inmate-on-inmate assaults jumped nearly 25 percent between 2007 and 2011.

The Justice Center at the nonpartisan Council of State Governments is currently reviewing West Virginia’s correctional system with an eye to addressing at-capacity prisons and overcrowded jails without sacrificing public safety.

While West Virginia ranks 32nd among states for its rate of putting adults behind bars, it is leading them all in prison population growth.    

 

1
Text Only
West Virginia
  • Two state tornadoes occur on same day

    West Virginia gets few tornadoes on average every year, yet two of them occurred on one recent day.
    While the sheer number of annual tornadoes pales in comparison to other states, they do occur in West Virginia, with its vast network of hills and mountains. Two of them formed 55 miles apart on Sunday night.

    July 31, 2014

  • I-77 tunnel repair complete

    Repairs to an Interstate 77 tunnel along the Virginia-West Virginia border have been completed following a truck fire.

    July 30, 2014

  • Another tornado confirmed in West Virginia

    Another tornado has been confirmed in West Virginia.

    July 30, 2014

  • Pierpont, WVU-Parkersburg enter transfer agreement

    West Virginia University at Parkersburg has signed a transfer agreement with Pierpont Community & Technical College.

    July 30, 2014

  • Repairs set for I-77 tunnel

    Some lanes of an Interstate 77 tunnel along the Virginia-West Virginia border where a truck fire occurred are being rerouted for repairs.

    July 29, 2014

  • Veterans crisis center coming to Clarksburg

    The long delays for veterans seeking medical care at VA hospitals have prompted The American Legion to plan a short-term crisis center in Clarksburg.

    July 29, 2014

  • Weekend tornado confirmed in West Virginia

    The National Weather Service has confirmed a tornado touched down in Pleasants and Ritchie counties over the weekend.

    July 29, 2014

  • Rahal: Fund VA reform ‘for our veterans’

     On the cusp of Congress’s lengthy summer break, factions sparring over legislation to strengthen health care and funding reforms for the Department of Veterans Affairs may have reached a compromise.
    Although final details are still in the works, the top two negotiators, Sen. Bernard Sanders, I-Vt., and Rep. Jeff Miller, R-Fla., released a joint statement that said they had “made significant progress toward and agreement on legislation to make VA more accountable and to help the department recruit more doctors, nurses and other health-care professionals.”

    July 29, 2014

  • Attorney general reaches $950,000 settlement with three financial groups

    West Virginia’s attorney general has reached a $950,000 settlement with three companies over allegations of antitrust law violations.

    July 28, 2014

  • Woman convicted in teen’s slaying moved

    A Monongalia County teenager has been transferred to a state prison to complete her sentence for the slaying of another teenager.
    The Lakin Correctional Center near Point Pleasant said Friday Rachel Shoaf has been booked at the Division of Corrections prison. Shoaf turned 18 last month and had been held in a juvenile facility.

    July 26, 2014

House Ads
Featured Ads