I wrote this in 1996, after a young deputy and another man were killed by a man who had managed to take the deputy’s gun. The prisoner in question also shot and killed himself.
There was a great debate at the time over the type of holsters and weapons that county law enforcement officials carried. I learned a lot about holsters which I had never known before. Sometime after this story - with the deputy’s permission - during a press conference in the sheriff’s office I demonstrated just how easy it was to slip a gun out of the holsters they were currently using.
The other newspaper reporters, who had also been covering the story, understood what I had just done. The television folks - who were basically just there to get a statement and some video -literally had no concept of what they had seen.
The Killing of a Deputy: “They Knew this Guy was Crazy”
Cop killer gave plenty of warning
Recently the Washington County Jail has been the target of serious allegations. In the most recent, Terry Lee Boatwright, victim of a January beating at the jail, claimed that jailers had left cell doors unlocked so that inmates would have access to each other.
While admitting that inmates did indeed attack and scald Boat wright with hot water, a joint investigation by Sheriff Kenneth McKee and Prosecutor Terry Jones' offices indicates that jailers had nothing to do with the incident.
In a raucous press conference this past week, Sheriff Kenneth McKee locked horns with Boatright's controversial attorney, Dan Ivy. The appearance on the scene of Ivy, a perpetual political candidate with an increasing tendency to refer to himself in the third person, seems to be the final nail in the case's coffin.
Because of Ivy's personal reputation, many have dismissed the case from their minds simply because of his participation.
However, the Ozark Gazette has learned of a former inmate of the Washington County Jail, now an inmate at the Arkansas Department of Corrections’ Delta Regional Unit, located in Dermott, who describes similar incidents during his incarceration in Fayetteville last fall.
In a phone interview this week, George Ashley Kazery told of situations at the Washington County Jail which go to the heart of allegations made about jail security. Kazery claims that he has never met Terry Boat wright, the man recently attacked.
"I wish somebody would hit me."
In fact, Kazery has revealed details about John Manning, who during an escape attempt last November, managed to wrest an officer's gun away, killing Deputy Pete Williamson and a civilian, before fatally shooting himself. While incarcerated in Fayetteville, Manning was a known risk who had attacked a number of inmates with little if any provocation.
While confined to the Washington County Jail in 1995, Kazery called his mother in tears, after his own confrontation with Manning, who he referred to as a "crazy man." He asked her to forgive him, because he was afraid that the charges against him would be much worse. He told her that she couldn't possibly understand how things worked on the inside, and that he had never intended to hurt anyone.
Kazery, who has been confined several times in the past, and has himself escaped previously, was terrified that additional charges would be laid against him, as a result of defending himself from Manning, who had attacked him without provocation. For whatever reasons, the incident was never written up by jail officials.
The first time that Kazery had ever heard of Manning was from another prisoner, a Mexican who told him about a "crazy white dude" who had beaten up everyone in his cell and had to be shifted around the jail. Kazery had heard of a fight in which Manning had assaulted two large black men. After putting one of the men down, the man's friend attacked Manning.
According to the account Kazery heard, the second fight lasted for a long time before the officers knew of the fight and ran in to break it up.
After Manning was put into Kazery's cell block, the Mexican prisoner was wildly agitated, saying, "That's the guy that jumped on me."
Kazery: "This guy comes in the cell block and he's got this air about himself. You could tell that he was a little bit off. While it was quiet, he was staring everybody down, and he was walking in different people's cells and just sort of looking at them . . . Right about the time they were serving chow, there were a couple of guys standing in line, this guy was watching these other fellows horseplay with each other, just playing around, and he said, ‘I wish somebody would hit me. I ain’t through. I’m still ready to fight.’
“So he had a lot of other people in the cell intimidated, and before the night was over with they had to move him out of the cell because he had an argument with several other guys, and they had told the jailers to get him out of the cell.”
Even after being moved to another cell block, he still managed to have altercations with other prisoners. Finally, they had to put him on “lock-down,” in a cell by himself. While going to visitation, Kazery’s path took him past Manning’s cell, and Manning would always ask him for a cigarette. Kazery would make it a point to have a cigarette ready for Manning, even going to the extent of running back to his cell for one.
“I’m gonna kick your ass.”
Kazery: “I knew the guy was crazy, but I didn’t know it didn’t take anything at all to set him off.”
One day, during a Bible class in the multi-purpose room, an officer led Manning in. In what must have been a surprising request, he had asked to be allowed to attend. But as soon as Manning stepped through the door, it was obvious that Christian brotherhood was the furthest thing from his mind.
Looking directly at the unsuspecting Kazery, Manning said, “I’m gonna kick your ass.” At first, Kazery, who was sitting on the floor, thought that this was said as a joke. But the attending officer took it seriously enough to come running in from his post at the doorway to come between the two men.
He cautioned Manning that if he had known this was going to happen, he would never have allowed him in. Manning replied, “Fuck this. I’m whipping his ass.” He began pulling his shirt off.
Kazery: “I don’t know exactly what he did to his body, but he had at least seven lacerations across his stomach that were about ten inches from side to side. They were obviously pretty deep. You could tell by what the wounds looked like when he pulled off his T-shirt . . . you could tell they were self-inflicted. I don’t know what he had done to himself. It looked like he might have took a razor blade and just went to cutting across his stomach.”
With mounting agitation, Kazery realized that Manning was serious. He stood up, in a defensive posture. Manning walked past the deputy around a table and picked up a folding chair. Raising it over his head, he began running at Kazery. Snatching up a folding chair himself, Kazery swung it up hard against Manning’s weapon, knocking it to the ground.
Realizing that the fight wasn’t over until one of them was put down, Kazery aggressively fought back. Quickly and savagely, he knocked Manning to the floor and “cut loose on him.”
His fear of the violent man he considered crazy gave Kazery even greater strength, and he brought it all to bear on Manning, not stopping until he had punched and kicked him repeatedly. Kazery didn’t stop until the other man was bloodied considerably.
Even after being kicked in the head, Manning still wanted to fight.
After the fight, Manning was taken back to his maximum security cell. That was the last occasion where the two men came into contact with each other, though Kazery heard through others that Manning continued to be a discipline problem, ending up in solitary once again.
Contrary to Kazery’s fears, the incident was never reported or held against him.
Kazery: “He continued to cause problems. What was weirdest to me about the whole situation is how they knew this guy was crazy. They knew he was off. They really didn’t have any business sending him with one officer, especially a rookie.”
Ozark Gazette: February 19, 1996