Over an eight-day period three prisoners at the Nelson Coleman Correctional Center were arrested and charged for their involvement in prison brawls, including one inmate who was charged with attempted murder.
Capt. Pat Yoes, St. Charles Parish Sheriff’s Office spokesman, said the acts of violence were unrelated and not part of a larger conflict within the prison.
"According to the warden there is no connection," he said.
The most significant arrest was that of 22-year-old Mark Hills, of New Orleans, who was charged with attempted second-degree murder and theft of goods less than $500.
According to a Sheriff’s Office report on June 23, Hills stole a pair of tennis shoes from another inmate who confronted him about the theft and the incident turned into a fight. Hills then threw the victim from the second floor balcony of the cell block and he landed on a steel table below, according to authorities. The victim was transported to St. Charles Parish Hospital for treatment of his injuries that included a broken thumb.
Yoes said the decision to charge Hills with attempted murder was due to the severity of the attack.
"It’s a pretty nice fall," he said. "It’s more than just a little fight."
Hills is a state prisoner from Orleans Parish who was originally sentenced to five years in October of 2011 for illegal possession of stolen things. If convicted on the attempted second-degree murder charge he may face a minimum of an additional 10 years and a maximum of 30 years.
Only a day before the Hills’ incident, another inmate had his leg broken in a fight with 26-year-old inmate William Stevenson. The Sheriff’s Office reports that Williamson was arrested on June 22 and has been charged with second-degree battery.
The first incident in the string of attacks occurred on June 15 when 20-year-old inmate Daniel Douglas, of Killona, slammed another inmate’s hand in a cell door, which resulted in a severe cut to the victim’s finger. Douglas has been charged with second-degree battery and simple battery for the incident.
Yoes said charging inmates with additional crimes while they are imprisoned is nothing new.
"Fights are something that occur from time to time. Usually they are minor, occasionally they become more serious," Yoes said. "These incidents are always investigated and criminal charges are filed on the more serious offenses or when they involve attacks on officers."