A Dunbar teenager housed at the North Central Regional Jail died of injuries suffered in a jailhouse fight. Convicted murderer Jeron Hawkins, 19, was fatally injured in the brawl with another inmate at the Doddridge County lockup on Monday.
“Mr. Hawkins is dead,” confirmed State Corrections Commissioner Jim Reubenstein. “We had a security detail at the hospital and we were released from that when Mr. Hawkins’ body was released to the custody of the deputy medical examiner in Monongalia County about 6:30pm on January 9th.”
Hawkins got into a fight with Anthony Young, 35, an inmate who was in the custody of the U.S. Marshal Service and being held at the regional jail. He was awaiting sentencing after he attacked another prisoner at the federal prison in Hazelton, West Virginia. The federal sentencing was set for January 3rd, but was delayed.
“What led to the altercation between these two inmates I’m not certain,” said State Regional Jail Authority Director Joe Delong. “Both were classified as ‘high risk’ inmates and both were in our facility for very violent crimes.”
Delong said the fight broke out during the end of a meal at the jail. The guard assigned to the floor was in a different section collecting trays. A guard positioned in the tower was watching the section where the trays were collected by the floor officer because of his exposure to other inmates. Delong estimates there were 18 to 30 inmates in the section where the fight happened.
“All eyes were on the section where the meal count was taking place and this happened in a neighboring section. ” said Delong. “I don’t think it went on for a very prolonged period of time, but it doesn’t take a prolonged period of time for a person to suffer some substantial injuries.”
State Police are conducting the investigation into the fight. Young was treated and released from the hospital for his injuries and is now back in the North Central Regional Jail in isolation. He’s expected to return to a federal facility once the investigation is finished.
Hawkins, 19 was convicted of murder for the shooting death of Lucas Lee, 28 on High Street in Morgantown. Hawkins shot Lee in an argument over a spilled drink inside a downtown Morgantown night club. He, like many inmates in the regional jails, was awaiting transfer to a state penitentiary.
“We have approximately 1,800 inmates who have been sentenced to the custody of the Division of Corrections who are in one of the ten regional jails awaiting bed space in one of our facilities,” Reubenstein said. “We’re full as well.”