Final name pleads guilty in 2018 assault at Daviess County jail

Preston Williams

The third and final man charged in a 2018 attack at the Daviess County Detention Center, which left a man with serious injuries, has pleaded guilty.

Preston T. Williams, 27, of the 600 block of Bolivar Street was initially charged with kidnapping of an adult along with Eric P. Burroughs, 20, of the 1400 block of West Third Street and Lyderrick D. Jones, 32, of the 3900 block of Bentree Drive, in a Jan. 11, 2018 assault that took place in a cell shared by Williams and Jones.

Williams, who was tried earlier this year and acquitted in connection with a 2016 fatal shooting on West Seventh Street, pleaded guilty to an amended charge of unlawful imprisonment in the 2018 assault in exchange for a five-year prison sentence.

Williams also pleaded guilty to intimidation of a witness in exchange for a one year sentence in a second assault at the jail that occurred on Sept. 26, 2017. Williams is scheduled to be sentenced in October, but has already been transferred to Christian County where he faces three counts of felony wanton endangerment.

The 2018 assault was reported about midnight on Sept. 12. Jailer Art Maglinger said inmates reported the victim, Michael Shaffer, had been severely beaten in a cell. Maglinger said Williams, Jones and Burroughs lured the inmate into the cell at 7:44 p.m. The camera in the cell shows the men entering the cell and leaving it at 8:37 p.m.

"After we found out he had been assaulted, we went back and watched the video and you could see all four of them went into the cell," Maglinger said. The jail had video, recordings of a phone call Burroughs had made where he discussed the incident and interviews with other inmates in the cell pod to present at trial, which was scheduled for later this month.

"I thought (the case) was winnable at trial," Maglinger said.

During the assault, Shaffer was knocked unconscious several times, beaten, had his head bashed against the wall and spat on. Maglinger said Shaffer was also tied up with a sheet and threatened.

"Williams told him he has people on the inside and out that would kill him," Maglinger said.

After the assault, Burroughs, Jones and Williams made Shaffer clean up and told him to not report the assault to deputies, according to Maglinger.

The FBI also looked into the assault as a possible hate crime for racially charged statements Burroughs, Jones and Williams made to Shaffer during the attack.

Jones also pleaded guilty to an amended charge of unlawful imprisonment in exchange for a five-year prison sentence. Burroughs pleaded guilty to first-degree kidnapping in exchange for a 10-year prison sentence.

Maglinger said jail staff compiled 100 pages of evidence during the investigation.

"I felt we did right by the victim," Maglinger said.

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

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