Five Georgia prison inmates have been charged with killing a fellow inmate who was thrown to his death from the second floor of a prison dormitory, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation said Monday.
Laderick Cornellius Chappel of Albany died early Friday from injuries sustained in the attack at 11 the night before at the Georgia Diagnostic and Classification Prison in Jackson, according to the GBI. An autopsy conducted Friday morning by the GBI Crime Lab in Decatur indicated the 33-year-old Chappel died from blunt force trauma caused by the fall.
GBI agents at the Milledgeville regional office and prison officials investigated Chappel's death and announced charges of murder and armed robbery against William Woodrow Wells, 21, of Louisville, Ga.; Dante Ray Myles, 27, of Covington; Niko Lamar Swann, 23, of Atlanta; Demarcus D. Crew, 19, of Elberton, and Justin O'Neal Clinkscales, 27, of Hartwell.
Chappel had been serving a sentence of life without parole after his conviction for an Oct. 29, 2010 murder in Dougherty County, according to the state Department of Corrections records. He had prior convictions dating to 1995 for terrorist threats and acts, cocaine possession and robbery, all in Dougherty County, prison records show.
Myles was serving 10 years for aggravated assault in Newton County; Swann, 10 years for hijacking a motor vehicle in Cobb County; Crew, 10 years for burglary in Hart County; and Clinkscales, 5 years for escape while serving a 7-year sentence for aggravated stalking in Hart County. Sentencing information for Wells was not immediately available.
The five men, armed with prison shanks, stole food that Chappel had bought from the prison store, GBI Special Agent Tom Davis said. Chappel immediately confronted the men and, during a fight that followed, was thrown to his death from the second floor of the prison dormitory, Davis said.
Inmates are allowed to circulate freely in their dormitories until 11:30 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and until 1 a.m. on Friday, Saturday and state holidays, Department of Corrections spokeswoman Gwendolyn Hogan said. The killing happened just before 11 p.m. Thursday, so cells had not yet been locked down at the prison, about 50 miles south of Atlanta.
There was one guard present in the dormitory at the time of the killing, which is standard, Hogan said.
— The Associated Press contributed to this article.