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Updated: 1:31 p.m. Tuesday, June 3, 2014 | Posted: 5:34 p.m. Monday, June 2, 2014

Fulton jailers uncover lovers’ tryst

By Steve Visser

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

A lock-picking condemned prisoner and an inmate had an afternoon-delight rendezvous interrupted in the Fulton County jail.

Norris Speed contended in the official incident report obtained by The Atlanta Journal Constitution on Monday that Sheriff Deputy Michael Watts’ unfortunate timing last week prevented him from being able “to do anything” with murder suspect Jasmine Jones.

Jones, however, admitted to consensual sex. She was booked into the jail in October 2011 on murder and robbery charges and had been there 956 days as of Monday, said sheriff spokeswoman Tracy Flanagan.

Speed, who was sentenced to death for murdering Atlanta police Officer Niles Johangten in 1991, returned to the jail in July 2011 for a series of ongoing hearings regarding his capital-murder case, Flanagan said.

Both inmates were in the jail’s medical wing. On May 26, Jones had been let out of her cell to shower. Speed told investigators he jimmied his lock to make a phone call, spotted Jones, an old acquaintance, and talked her into joining him for a quickie.

Watts wrote in his report that when he couldn’t find Jones in the shower or her cell, he checked Speed’s cell and found the two of them together.

“She stated that inmate Speed popped opened the side door and told her to come into his cell. Inmate Jones then stated that she was tempted and let the lust get the best of her so she willingly entered inmate Speed’s cell although she was extremely nervous,” Watts wrote.

The incident highlighted two ongoing problems for the Fulton County jail: lengthy incarceration of inmates awaiting court dates, turning the jail with its limited resources into a de facto prison. And faulty locks, which have led violent felons to roam, putting both deputies and inmates at risk.

Prisoners have devised various ways to disable locks by using items such as toilet paper and soap. The county is currently spending nearly $5 million to replace about 1,300 faulty locks with sturdier ones that will signal when working properly.

That work is supposed to be done by July according to recent reports; Flanagan said the locks in the medical unit still need to be replaced.

There was no official word on whether the Jones-Speed tryst will hasten the replacement.

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