May 9, 2005 – Posted at 4:39 p.m. CDT
ASH FLAT, AR – A Region 8 man is healing after being severely beaten while in jail.
20-year-old Terry Miller is back home with his family after a harrowing experience in the Sharp County Jail.
Miller was arrested last week on the misdemeanor charge of failure to pay. But Thursday night, he was jumped by two other inmates and says he's lucky to have survived.
Miller has a broken nose and several broken bones in his face, but his family says the Sharp County Sheriff's Department didn't do enough when he was attacked.
“They beat me until I went unconscious and I sat in my jail cell, because they said that if I told the cops it would be a lot worse the next time,” said Miller.
Miller's face still has the bruises from the beating he claims came from fellow inmates Josh Collins and Kent Cory at the Sharp County Jail.
“When Mr. Miller got his food for dinner, he wanted to sit down at the table and eat and started to do so and I guess that at that time, Kent Cory, one of the inmates got into an argument with him about it,” said Sharp County Sheriff Dale Weaver.
Miller was behind bars for a misdemeanor of failing to pay a traffic ticket. Cory was serving time for a misdemeanor and Collins was waiting to be transferred to a regional punishment center for a felony charge.
“They didn't do right by putting me in there with them,” said Miller.
The sheriff says part of the reason the misdemeanor inmates were being held with the felony inmates was because of construction at the jail.
“I don't know any correctional facility that doesn't have some kind of assaults, it just happens,” said Sheriff Weaver.
And there's no argument, this assault was brutal.
“The first response guy said my nose is broken and I probably need to go to the hospital. But they refused to take me to the hospital, and they put me in a cell by myself for the night and then the next morning they took me to the doctor's office,” said Miller.
Jail employees treated Miller's injuries with aspirin and an ice pack and checked on him every 30 minutes throughout the night. But his family says that wasn't enough.
“That's what upsets me, my brother could have had a brain hemorrhage or something and died in his cell and they didn't think it was serious enough to go to the hospital,” said Chasity Becker, Miller’s sister, “That's what I’m mad about more than anything.”
Miller finally made it to the hospital, only after his family paid his $200 dollar bond.
“Not only did they let it happen, they made us pay to get him out so we could take him to the hospital,” said Becker.
Miller said, “They told me the while right side of my face was crushed all the bones and stuff like that we're crushed.”
Collins & Cory now face charges of Second Degree Battery, a Class D Felony.
“You are going to have trouble, fights in a facility just like you do outside, only the possibilities are even greater in there,” said Sheriff Weaver, “Keeping adults locked up together in a small area and everybody has a different personality and sometimes they conflict.”