Violent Jail Fight - - The News for South Mississippi

Violent Jail Fight

A Harrison County inmate has lost one eye and sustained damaged in the other after a New Year's Eve fight at the county jail, said Sheriff George H. Payne Jr. Payne said Wednesday that James Melear is being treated to see whether the other eye will regain sight. Payne said he did not know what prompted the fight between James Allen Gibson and Melear shortly before midnight on New Year's Eve.

Gibson, 29, has been charged with aggravated assault. Gibson is awaiting trial on a capital murder charge in the February slaying of his estranged wife. Melear, 64, is awaiting trial on five sexual assault charges, some involving a child. Payne said the attack on Melear occurred in a common area of a cell block that houses about 30 inmates. ``Our investigation shows that Gibson came up from behind Melear and used his hands to injure Melear's eyes,'' Payne said. ``A guard stepped in and broke up the fight very quickly.'' Melear was expected to be returned to the jail upon his release from a hospital, Payne said.

Gibson has been held at the jail on a $1 million bond since his arrest in February after his estranged wife, Cynthia, 43, was killed. An additional $1 million bond was set for the attack on Melear. Gibson made headlines with a six-hour standoff in Saucier shortly after police found his wife's body on a street in Gulfport. Officials said Gibson surrendered after he shot and wounded himself twice. Authorities said his wife died of a knife wound in the throat.

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