Wednesday, November 30, 2005
Bible study turns violent at Glenn County Jail
WILLOWS, California - It's been said that more people have gone to war over religion than any other cause, but officials at the Glenn County Jail don't believe a fight during a Bible study class Sunday was faith-based.
"It was probably something that started in the pod, then carried over to the Bible study," said sheriff's Lt. Rich Warren.
Five inmates were reportedly attending the study session, which was being led by a pastor in the jail library.
Witnesses said Mario Martinez and Levi Pope suddenly started fighting in a corner of the room, and refused to stop when approached by four correctional officers.
The fight was physically broken up and the two men were taken back to their cells.
Officer Christa Berlier suffered minor injuries during the altercation and was taken to Glenn Medical Center in Willows for treatment of a sprained hand and small fractures.
Neither inmate required medical care, but Pope later complained of pain to his elbow and neck.
A computer and printer inside the library were damaged during the scuffle.
Pope, who had been serving time on narcotics and probation violations, was due to be released Dec. 28. Martinez, serving a 60-day sentence for a vehicular code violation, would have completed his sentence Dec. 21.
Both now face charges of felony battery on a correctional officer and destruction of jail property. The case will be sent to the Glenn County District Attorney for further action.
Warren said the jail is very careful about allowing inmates who don't know each other to interact, and said both men had been housed in the same living unit.