Family Questions Inmate Injuries - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

04/27/04

Family Questions Inmate Injuries

A Vancleave man suffered serious injuries while locked up in the Jackson County Adult Detention Center. But his family members and the sheriff are telling very different stories about how it happened.

Family and friends call it a violent, unprovoked beating by other inmates. The sheriff says the unfortunate injury was the result of horse play involving just one other inmate.

Family members of the victim are focused on his medial condition right now. But they do have some serious questions about how the injuries happened.

The sheriff says the answers are clear, captured on a closed circuit camera at the jail.

Family and friends of Michael Joseph Caughhorn kept a vigil outside Singing River Hospital Tuesday.  That's where the 21 year old, known as Joey, is fighting for his life He's in critical condition after suffering head injuries at the Jackson County Adult Detention Center.

Family members believe he was beaten by other inmates.

"They choked him to death. They slammed his head into a metal table. And there was nobody to help him. Nobody," said the victim's girlfriend, Victoria Davis.

"There was more than one individual that assaulted him at the ADC. And apparently there was not enough staff there to control the situation or even stop the situation," said Brett Caughhorn, the victim's uncle.

The Jackson County Sheriff says allegations are untrue.

"As far as an intentional beating or anything, that is not true," said Sheriff Mike Byrd.

Sheriff Byrd says the injury was the result of horse play involving one other inmate. Several inmates were playing cards and watching TV when the incident happened.

"From what we understand, they were watching a wrestling commercial. He came up from behind him and grabbed him behind the neck and threw him down and he hit his head. And that's exactly what happened. It shows on the video and everything. Nobody has beat this man," the sheriff explained.

Since that video may be used as evidence, we're not allowed to show it. But WLOX News did watch the video and it supports the sheriff's version.

Joey Caughhorn's family members say they were given conflicting stories by the Jackson County sheriff's department. They say initially they were told he injured his head after he collapsed while sitting at a table. They say the next day they were told that he was attacked, by one other inmate.

"I don't know anything about that. I hadn't heard that. All I know is what I saw on the video. And he was not beaten," said Sheriff Byrd.

By Steve Phillips

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