Jail deputies discover homemade weapons in jail pod, three charged

Sgt. Brian Myers, from left, and deputies Chris Durbin, Seth Culver and Coty Payne with the Daviess County Detention Center look over altered metal shanks and a baton Thursday that were found Sunday morning, hidden by inmates at the jail.

A report of a vandalized cleaning cart at the Daviess County Detention Center led deputies to charge three inmates with creating a number of homemade weapons with the possible intention of trying to escape.

Daviess County Jailer Art Maglinger said deputies recovered five improvised weapons, or “shanks,” from an inmate pod and charged the inmates Wednesday with promoting contraband and tampering with evidence.

The investigation began Sunday when deputy jailers discovered a cleaning cart, which had been in one of the inmate pods, was missing a metal rod near the rear wheels.

Maglinger said Deputy Jailers Seth Culver, Chris Durbin, Coty Payne and Sgt. Brian Myers checked the inmates in the pod with metal detectors and then moved them to another secure area so the pod could be searched.

Several shanks, made from dismantling a metal vent and sharpening the edges, and the rod from the cart, were recovered in the pod. The shanks had improvised handles.

“They ended up finding some really good shanks,” Maglinger said.

Deputy jailers were able to identify the three suspects based on where the improvised weapons were found in the pod.

All but one of the shanks was recovered Sunday. Maglinger said the fifth shank was found Monday after deputies reviewing surveillance footage saw inmate Damien M. Fields, 25, of Owensboro, tossing something into a box as he was being moved to an isolation cell after being identified as a suspect.

When inmates usually make improvised weapons, “most of the time it’s a spork,” which is made of soft plastic, Maglinger said. But the weapons that deputies recovered were “incredibly dangerous.”

“Any one of these would be able to hurt somebody, if not kill them,” he said.

Fields, Nathan D. Allen, 26, of Owensboro, and Kyle B. Jordan, 30, of Eminence were each charged with felony first-degree promoting contraband and tampering with physical evidence.

Allen and Jordan admitted to having and hiding the shanks, while Fields refused to give a statement. Maglinger said Allen told deputies he had the shanks for protection from another inmate.

“Allen never told us who he had an issue with,” Maglinger said. “He just said he had an issue with somebody.”

“There was information they were trying to escape with them ... There was information they were kind of freaking out over what is going on outside,” Maglinger said.

He said if the inmates were planning to dig their way out with the shanks, “it would have taken a while.”

Maglinger said the investigation is ongoing and more inmates could be charged after the shanks are examined for fingerprints.

James Mayse, 270-691-7303, jmayse@messenger-inquirer.com, Twitter: @JamesMayse

James Mayse, 270-691-7303, jmayse@messenger-inquirer.com, Twitter: @JamesMayse

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