BY JENNIFER A. BOWEN
The St. Clair County Jail is on full lockdown after two inmates allegedly attacked officers Friday and 11 others attempted to prevent officers from removing a suicidal inmate from his cell.
Each of the 13 inmates is in jail on violent crime charges and eight of the 13 are jailed due to previous murder or attempted murder charges, according to St. Clair County Sheriff's Sgt. Thomas Trice, head of Sheriff's Department intelligence.
Two of the inmates, Richard Miller, 33, of Cahokia, and Odis M. Rucker, 27, of Alorton, are accused of leading the attack and threats on correctional officers and were each charged on Wednesday with aggravated battery to a correctional officer and obstructing/resisting a correctional institution employee in connection with the Friday incident.
Bail was set at $150,000 for Miller and Rucker.
Miller on Wednesday was sentenced to 13 years in prison on previous armed violence and possession of a weapon by a felon convictions and now faces additional jail time if he is convicted of the charges filed Wednesday.
Rucker is in the St. Clair County Jail on a 2009 first-degree murder charge, according to court documents.
On Friday, a corrections officer heard one of the L Block inmates say he was intending to harm himself. Officers then attempted to remove the suicidal inmate from his cell to be placed where he could be checked on frequently.
When the officers went to remove him from the cell block, several other inmates refused to allow the inmate to leave and inmates threatened officers and told them no one would be allowed to leave the cell block.
The correctional officers called for backup and several officers from the sheriff's patrol division responded, Trice said. The officers, faced with a potential hostage situation, attempted to negotiate with the inmates to allow them to retrieve and remove the suicidal inmate from the block. The inmates did not want to negotiate.
A group of inmates, led by Miller and Rucker, surrounded the inmate who threatened to harm himself and barricaded him away from officers.
Miller and Rucker threatened to harm the officers if they attempted to take the inmate from the block. When the officers continued to try to reach the inmate, Miller attacked one of the officers and Rucker attacked a second officer.
The officer attacked by Miller was taken to a Belleville hospital for nonlife threatening injuries and the second officer was treated by nursing staff at the jail, Trice said.
Officers were able to gain control over the rest of the inmates and restrain them and place them in their cells.
"The dangers correctional officers face every day in this job aren't noticed by the public and this is an example of one of the dangers corrections officers face," Trice said. "We are working with violent offenders and although we are overcrowded, we make no excuses and have no tolerance for violence by inmates towards other inmates. These correctional officers risked their lives to remove an inmate who was threatening violence to himself."
The following inmates are accused of participating in the incident and have each been charged with obstructing and resisting a correctional institution employee:
Terryon D. Triplett, 24, of Belleville; Trenton A. Jefferson, 21, of East St. Louis; Dorian R. Brown, 37, of East St. Louis; Craig L. Gibson, 30, of Cahokia; Michael A. Moore, 23, of Anna; Kenny G. Wicks, 27, of Washington Park; Cedric D. Allen, 19, of Centreville; Darris B. Donald, 23, of Washington Park; Eric C. Tucker, 21, of Washington Park; Devon A. Matlock, 20, of Washington Park and Christopher Davis, 24, of Washington Park.
Bail was set at $75,000 each.
"In the St. Clair County Jail there are a higher percentage of wolves versus sheep. We house nearly 55 murder suspects, 39 armed violence suspects and 19 with other violent offenses," said St. Clair County Sheriff's Capt. Steve Johnson. "On average, 76 percent of the total jail population are charged with felonies. These wolves not only prey on their victims while on the streets but continue to make the jail a hazardous place to work and try to keep safe."
Contact reporter Jennifer A. Bowen at firstname.lastname@example.org or 239-2667.
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