, Salem, MA

June 8, 2007

Melee at Middleton Jail injures five guards

Julie Manganis

MIDDLETON — Five guards at Middleton Jail were injured early yesterday after a group of inmates, let out of their cells to take showers, attacked the guards, using as weapons the handcuffs and shackles that had just been removed from them, according to court testimony.

Seven men, including one who is awaiting trial on murder charges, were charged in the attacks. All seven are considered high-risk inmates and were confined to a high-security segregation unit.

All seven were ordered held on bails ranging from $75,000 to $250,000 cash during their arraignments yesterday afternoon in Salem District Court, where they were brought in under heavy security, arraigned in a courtroom that had been cleared of most spectators, and then immediately moved back out of the building and into a pair of vans surrounded by unmarked police cars.

All are charged with assault and battery on corrections officers and with dangerous weapons that included handcuffs, shackles, body chains and a chair, as well as brooms and a plunger taken from a supply closet near the showers. The charges carry potential 10-year prison terms.

They could face additional charges, a jail spokesman said.

“These seven defendants planned a calculated, premeditated attack on correctional officers at that facility,” prosecutor Elizabeth Satelmajer told Judge Dunbar Livingston during yesterday’s arraignment.

It was around 12:25 a.m. when the seven inmates — Eddy Lopez, also known as Miguel Torres, 30; Miguel Diaz, 21; and Raul Carraquillo Llanos, 35, all of Lawrence; Angel Andrades, 28, of Lynn; Alexis Maldonado, 29, of Haverhill; Jurrell Laronal, 21, of Dorchester; and Juan Rivera, 24, of Boston — were being led, one by one, from the administrative segregation unit to the showers.

Paul Fleming, a jail spokesman, said the inmates in that unit are typically confined to their cells 23 hours a day, and when they are out of their cells, they are under heavy security.

Slid under showers

The men were told to sit on a bench outside the shower stalls, where they were unshackled and told to undress.

They were then locked into individual shower stalls. Several of them began sliding underneath a 2- to 3-foot gap underneath the shower doors and were able to grab the shackles and swing them at the guards, Fleming said.

Two of the guards received head wounds, and one of them had to have the wound stapled closed, Satelmajer said. A third guard was cut on the jaw.

As the officers radioed for help — which began arriving within 30 seconds, Fleming said — the inmates began throwing things at the officers, including a telephone ripped from a console, a computer and a book cart. Two inmates got hold of brooms and a plunger and began swinging them at the officers, Fleming said.

It took about four minutes to get all of the inmates back under control, Fleming said. He said the response time and the time it took to subdue the seven inmates was worthy of praise.

In the aftermath, guards began a cell-by-cell search of the unit, looking for potential weapons or other evidence. During that process, one guard suffered a sprained wrist and another was bitten by a dog that was being used in the search, Fleming said.

Fleming declined to release the names of the injured guards, citing concern for their safety.

The unit, which is often referred to by inmates as “the hole,” houses high-profile inmates or those who require special protection or have major disciplinary problems.

Lopez was being held at the jail while he awaits trial next month in the 2003 murder of a man named Gilberto Martinez in Lawrence. He is also serving a 35-year federal prison term for drug offenses.

Maldonado is awaiting trial on charges of assaulting a guard and a fellow inmate last summer. In August 2006, he allegedly attacked another inmate with a hot pot, shattering the man’s eye socket, then kicked a guard who was responding to the situation. He has also served time for violent crimes in the past.

Andrades is serving a two-year term for witness intimidation.

Diaz is awaiting trial on armed assault and firearms charges out of Lawrence. Carraquillo Llanos is also awaiting trial on assault and drug charges. Laronal is serving a two-year sentence imposed in Suffolk County for firearms charges.

Rivera is awaiting trial on armed robbery charges from Bristol County and also has pending charges in Lynn.

Bail for Lopez and Carraquillo Llanos was set at $250,000 each. Bail for Laronal, Rivera, Diaz and Andrades was set at $100,000 cash each, and Maldonado’s bail was set at $75,000.

Their lawyers did not argue over bail yesterday but asked for the chance to argue at a future court hearing.

A probable-cause hearing was scheduled for July 25.