12 formally charged with manslaughter for beating death of Tangipahoa inmate

12 formally charged with manslaughter for beating death of Tangipahoa inmate

TANGIPAHOA PARISH, LA (WAFB) - Twelve inmates at the Tangipahoa Parish Prison have been indicted for manslaughter after they allegedly beat a fellow inmate to death.

According to Tangipahoa Parish District Attorney Scott M. Perrillous, a grand jury returned the indictments on May 8, 2017. Perrilloux expects the individuals to be arraigned within upcoming weeks.

The defendants include:

  • Herman Bagent, 20
  • Lionel Brister, 22
  • Brent Collins, 30
  • Tyquan Davis, 22
  • Ronald Faulkner, 38
  • Randall Holmes, 27
  • James Milton, 23
  • Eric Newman, 18
  • William Patterson, 22
  • Travis Robertson, 28
  • Antwon Seymore, 19
  • A juvenile offender

The victim, Tommy Joe Smith, 40, was arrested by the Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff's Office on January 30 for a probation violation. Detectives say once Smith was booked, he was allegedly met with hostility by the other inmates in the dorm room he was placed in.

Investigators say Smith attempted to notify one of the guards of the problem when he was hit from behind by an inmate. Deputies say Smith was then swarmed by other inmates when he tried to defend himself.

Witnesses described the attack as a "shark feeding frenzy," meaning it was an extremely brutal and very quick attack. Guards and rescue crews were quickly notified of the attack, but Smith died from his injuries.

"News of this unprovoked and heinous attack is extremely troubling," said Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff Daniel Edwards. "We strive to provide safety to all those in Tangipahoa Parish, including those incarcerated within the Tangipahoa Parish Jail. Through an investigative account of this incident, it has been discovered all protocols relating to a response to such an event were preformed expeditiously. Unfortunately, due to the number of individuals involved in the altercation, along with the incident occurring within a secured environment, our victim was limited with an escape. This type of environment provides many limitations when taking into account the safety of staff, emergency medical responders, as well as the inmates themselves."

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