The Allen County Sheriff’s Department in Lima, Ohio, made a dangerous mistake this week after a guard accidentally put a murder suspect in the exact same holding cell as the witness who was scheduled to testify against him. As you may have predicted, this little mix-up resulted in a violent brawl behind bars.
As reported by the Associated Press, both men were kept in jail during a break in an ongoing homicide trial, and neither of them were put in handcuffs. Only a few minutes later, the murder suspect had thrown a punch at the witness and a physical altercation broke out. Police had to intervene to break up the fight, but both the murder suspect the murder witness made it out with only minor injuries.
Allen County Sheriff Sam Crish shared the embarrassing accident with Lima News, revealing that the murder suspect is a 46-year-old man named Markelus Carter. He is currently on trial for the aggravated murder of Kenneth Warrington and various weapons charges. The victim was reportedly having a relationship with the ex-girlfriend of the murder suspect, which allegedly enraged Carter enough to kill him. He has entered a plea of not guilty, but his violent outburst in the holding cell may make it more difficult to convince the jury of his innocence. The Sheriff’s Department reports that the murder suspect was the first to throw a punch.
“The only thing I know is the two of them were put in a holding cell together,” Crish said. “An altercation broke out between the two and within minutes we were able to go in and break up the two.”
While the holding cell wasn’t in view of the public, surveillance footage captured the whole scuffle on camera. Carter can be seen punching the other inmate in the face, before the witness gets the murder suspect into a headlock. Carter bites the witness on the arm just before the guards are able to separate the men.
The defense attorney for Carter’s trial requested a mistrial as a result of the jail fight, but the judge denied the request. In fact, the judge allowed the jury to watch the footage of the murder suspect attacking his witness, which will probably not do much to help his case.
When Markelus Carter appeared again in court the next day, he was noticeably upset and had visible injuries on his face. He did not smile or acknowledge his family as he had on previous days of the trial.
The guard who put the murder suspect in the same cell as the witness violated protocol and Sheriff Crish claims there will be an investigation.
What would you do if you were in the same room as a murder suspect?
[Image credit: Daniel Berehulak / Getty Images]