A group of six inmates from a St. Louis correctional facility are now under scrutiny as they face charges for allegedly holding a 73-year-old guard hostage, seizing his cell keys, and freeing other prisoners. The guard was later rescued by a SWAT team, as per a recent report. On Monday, the St. Louis Circuit Attorney’s Office unveiled charging documents that shed light on the incident, which unfolded around 6 a.m. on August 22. Following the ordeal, the guard was transported to a hospital to receive treatment for minor injuries.
The incident, which took place at the St. Louis Justice Center, is still under investigation. However, Jennifer Clemons-Abdullah, the Director of Corrections, revealed last week that one of the inmates had made a demand for pizza. The situation escalated when two inmates, Eric Williams and Anthony Newberry, both facing first-degree murder charges, attacked the guard while they were assisting him in delivering breakfast trays to other inmates. Williams is said to have initiated the assault, causing the guard to fall to the ground. Newberry reportedly joined in, and together they dragged the guard to a shower area.
Newberry then allegedly seized the guard’s cell keys and began to unlock all the cells in the pod, setting dozens of inmates free. Paul Mondaine and Earnest Lyons, two other inmates, relocated the guard to a table inside the pod, where he was handcuffed and his legs were shackled. Newberry and another inmate, Richard Bolden III, proceeded to smash televisions, and the inmates used the debris from the TVs and broom and mop handles to fashion weapons. Mondaine is said to have threatened the guard with one of these makeshift weapons.
The guard was eventually freed by a SWAT team around 8 a.m. local time. Chris Coyle, the Interim Public Safety Director, reported that “less-than-lethal ammunition” was deployed on the unruly prisoners, and two of them suffered minor injuries at the hands of their fellow inmates during the hostage situation. Williams, 20; Newberry, 29; Mondaine, 29; Lyons, 21; and Cleveland Washington Jr. 21, have all been slapped with first-degree kidnapping charges. Bolden, Newberry, and Washington are also being charged for causing damage to the jail. Furthermore, Williams and Newberry are facing assault charges, and Mondaine has been charged with unlawful use of a weapon.