Two inmates at Hays State Prison in northwest Georgia have been charged in last week’s killing of a fellow inmate from Atlanta, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation said Tuesday.
The slain inmate was identified as Nathaniel Reynolds. He was the third inmate found dead at the prison in Trion in Chattooga County within the past month. The deaths of the other inmates were reported Dec. 19 and Dec. 26.
GBI spokesman John Bankhead identified the inmates charged in Reynolds’ death as Ricardo Beltran-Gonzales and Leonardo Ramos Rodriques. Both were charged with murder.
Beltran-Gonzales is serving time for cocaine trafficking and was due to be released in 2038, the GBI said. Rodriques is serving time for involuntary manslaughter and was due to be released 2018.
Gwendolyn Hogan, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Corrections, confirmed Saturday that Reynolds died from injuries sustained in an altercation.
“An unidentified inmate went out for treatment for injuries sustained,” Hogan said at the time. “The inmate later died as a result of his injuries.”
Nathaniel Reynolds Sr. of Atlanta said his son was the victim of gang violence at the prison. The father said Tuesday that Reynolds had been in prison on a murder conviction for almost 14 years, with about two years at Hays State Prison. The father said that since last summer his son had been in isolation, where he was moved after becoming involved in a gang fight.
The younger Reynolds was being moved from isolation Friday morning back to the general prison population when several inmates stabbed him, his father said, recalling what other inmates had told him. He said he last spoke to his son last Thursday. Reynolds’ funeral is Friday in Atlanta.
The GBI was called in to investigate the Reynolds slaying and two other recent inmate deaths at Hays State Prison, which is about 40 miles south of Chattanooga, Tenn.
On Dec. 26, Damion MacClain, 27, died from injuries after a fight with another inmate, the GBI said. MacClain was serving time for armed robbery convictions. Fellow inmate Daniel Ferguson, who was serving a life sentence for murder, was charged with MacClain’s slaying.
MacClain’s mother, RaHonda MacClain, said Tuesday she was told by prison officials that more inmates may have been involved in her son’s slaying. She said her son was serving a 16-year sentence for a DeKalb County conviction.
MacClain said her son had complained to her that he was being targeted because he refused to join gangs.
“The last thing I heard was that they were still doing an investigation and others may know something [about MacClain’s slaying],” the mother said.
A week before her son’s death, on Dec. 19, another inmate, Derrick Stubbs, 25, was found dead at Hays State Prison.
Both MacClain and Stubbs were housed in the same area of the prison, but GBI agent James Harris told the Chattanooga Times Free Press that investigators did not believe their killings were linked.
“They weren’t tied any way together,” Harris told the publication. “That was the first thing on our minds.”
Stubbs’ mother told the Chattanooga Times her son, who was in prison for armed robbery, was in protective custody following a fight when he was found dead.