Meridian Star

March 5, 2013

Jackson County inmate dies after being punched


Associated Press

PASCAGOULA, Miss. — A Jackson County jail inmate has died after being punched by another inmate at the jail.

Sheriff Mike Byrd said 46-year-old Anthony Eugene Moore died Monday. He had been taken to the hospital Sunday.

Moore was struck in the face by another inmate, identified by Byrd as 19-year-old Dionte Jones. Byrd said Jones had been talking on a phone, arguing with a family member. Moore walked by as the call ended. Byrd said Jones knocked Moore unconscious with a punch to the jaw.

The Mississippi Bureau of Investigation, Jackson County's criminal investigation division, and the Jackson County District Attorney's Office are investigating.

Moore was struck in a day room where inmates can gather, watch TV and use the telephone.

The Sun Herald newspaper asked how many corrections officers were in the day room to supervise inmates at the time of the assault, but Byrd would only say in email exchanges with the Sun Herald that the "staffing was full."

"This board of supervisors will work with the sheriff's department to make sure we can install the proper safety precautions and make sure he has the resources he needs to make sure that things like this don't happen in the future," Supervisor Troy Ross told WLOX-TV.

County supervisors said the building of a new jail, which is currently under way, will help to prevent such problems.

"In this new jail, every single cell will be a lockdown cell. You'll only have two people per cell," Supervisor John McKay said. "They'll have a day room they can all go in where something like this could possibly happen, but again, it will greatly reduce the chances of interaction and this type of thing happening with a new jail."

Jones was jailed in June 2012 on armed robbery, commercial burglary and misdemeanor simple possession of marijuana.

Moore was arrested in February on a felony charge of violating probation.