By Monica Land
PASCAGOULA – A 19-year-old Jackson County jail inmate faces up to 20 years in prison after punching another inmate in the face resulting in his death.
Dionte R. Jones has been charged with homicide while in the commission of a misdemeanor assault for a physical assault on 46-year-old Anthony Eugene Moore.
Sheriff Mike Byrd said on Sunday, March 3, Jones was in the day room of the Jackson County jail arguing with a family member on the telephone. Just as the call ended, Moore walked by and Jones allegedly knocked Moore unconscious with a punch to the jaw.
Testimony during an initial court appearance later that week revealed that Jones hit Moore with a closed fist. When Moore fell, his head struck the concrete floor causing hemorrhaging in his brain.
Moore, who had been arrested in February on a felony charge of violating probation, was pronounced dead at a local hospital.
Jones was jailed in 2012 on armed robbery, commercial burglary and misdemeanor simple possession of marijuana.
Byrd said the incident took place in the day room where inmates can gather, watch TV and use the telephone. Byrd said correctional officers were on duty there the day of the assault.
County officials are said to be working together to prevent these types of assaults in the future.
“This board of supervisors will work with the sheriff’s department to make sure we can install the proper safety precautions and make sure he has the resources he needs to make sure that things like this don’t happen in the future,” Supervisor Troy Ross told WLOX-TV.
County supervisors said the building of a new jail, which is currently under way, will help to prevent such problems.
“In this new jail, every single cell will be a lockdown cell. You’ll only have two people per cell,
“Supervisor John McKay said. “They’ll have a day room they can all go in where something like this could possibly happen, but again, it will greatly reduce the chances of interaction and this type of thing happening with a new jail.”
The Mississippi Bureau of Investigation, Jackson County’s criminal investigation division, and the Jackson County District Attorney’s Office are investigating this case.