The Palestine Herald, Palestine, Texas

Local News

June 5, 2008

Investigation of Beto Unit inmate incident ongoing

The Texas Department of Criminal Justice’s investigation into an assault at a Tennessee Colony prison unit last month which sent three inmates to area hospitals continues, according to a prison spokesperson.

The assault occurred around 9:15 p.m. on May 25 in the day room of a wing at the TDCJ’s Beto Unit, according to TDCJ spokesperson Jason Clark.

“Five offenders were assaulted by an unknown number of other offenders,” Clark told the Herald-Press Wednesday. “We had three offenders who were assaulted taken to nearby hospitals to be treated for various injuries.”

The other two assaulted inmates were treated for “minor injuries” at the unit’s infirmary, Clark added.

The three offenders who were transported to area hospitals sustained various injuries, according to Clark.

One of the inmates had “possible” head trauma, while the other two inmates sustained a “possible” collapsed lung and facial injuries respectively, the spokesperson stated.

All three of the injured inmates are back at the Beto Unit, according to Clark.

“Investigators have identified several suspects, and they’re in pre-hearing detention,” Clark said. “The office of the inspector general is investigating.”

Clark said he was uncertain how the inmates were assaulted and what sparked the incident.

“That’s something that will be part of the investigation — to determine what was used and who was using it,” Clark said.

Although still part of the ongoing investigation, the spokesperson said the assaults “do not appear” to be gang-related.

Activities at the wing where the assault occurred were suspended for some time, but have since “returned to normal,” Clark added.

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Paul Stone may be contacted via e-mail at pstone@palestineherald.com

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