Report details March jail assault

A Curry County jail inmate was discovered bloody and beaten shortly after noon on March 29. That's when another inmate "buzzed in to control and stated 'you better get me out of this pod before I kill someone.'"

The report detailing the incident was released by county officials on Wednesday in response to a Clovis News Journal public records request.

According to the reports:

  • Inmates Terry Damron and Joseph Steward were in the same cell.
  • Damron told jail staff Steward snapped and "he (Steward) untwisted (a) broom handle and just started hitting … (Damron) in the face with it."
  • Steward notified jail staff through an intercom system.
  • Steward was handcuffed by a responding detention officer and moved to an isolation cell.
  • Damron had "obvious signs of trauma to his face and neck area."
  • Damron said Steward knocked him to the floor, hit him on the back with the broom handle a couple of times and punched him during the assault.
  • Damron "made it clear that he did not want to press charges on Steward."
  • Damron was taken to Plains Regional Medical Center, treated for head and neck injuries and later returned to his cell.

Documents show the attack happened on March 29.

A lawsuit notice filed by attorney Marna Trammell in June said her client, Damron, was attacked on or about March 26.

County Attorney Stephen Doerr said while cameras were operating when the attack took place, there are no images on the video because, "It is my understanding that the incident itself occurred within a cell and the cameras do not record matters within a cell."

Efforts to reach jail Administrator Gerry Billy for comment weren't successful.

County Commission Chairman Wendell Bostwick said he couldn't comment because he hadn't read the reports and because the incident is in litigation.

Undersheriff Wesley Waller said the sheriff wasn't notified of the March 29 incident and it was not under investigation by his office.

No charges have been filed in connection with the incident.

The incident is the second this year in which an inmate is alleged to have beaten another inmate with a broom.

Louis Guerra is accused of hitting Jaime Perez with a broom handle during a June 27 fight in the jail. Perez was treated and released at the Clovis hospital for injuries he received from that altercation, Waller said.

Jail officials have declined to release the report detailing the Guerra-Perez fight, citing attorney-client privilege. Attorney Tye Harmon has notified county officials he may file a lawsuit on behalf of Perez.

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