Hacksaw blades, arson and attempted jail breaks have kept jailers on alert at the Fulton County jail and Stone County Detention Center.
Two 18-year-old inmates charged with capital murder have been transferred from the Fulton County jail for security reasons after hacksaw blades were smuggled into a jail cell July 20, said Sheriff Lloyd Martz. One of the inmates, Brian Keith Shankle, has been charged with arson after he allegedly set fire to the Stone County Detention Center July 27.
After hearing rumors that weapons had been smuggled into the jail, Fulton authorities conducted a search but were unable to locate the contraband. The inmates were transferred from the jail for safety measures to prevent a possible jail break, Martz said. During a second search of the facility officers found two hacksaw blades under a mattress in one of the cells shared by several inmates, Martz said.
Inmate Bobby Woodrum, charged with capital murder of an Agnos man who was found with a belt wrapped around his neck, was transported to Craighead County jail by deputy James Humphrey and auxiliary officer James Cantrell.
Shankle, who faces the same charges as Woodrum, was transported to Stone County Detention Center July 19 by Cantrell. Shankle was later transferred to the Independence County jail after a fire was set at the Stone County jail, Martz said.
Smoke was detected from the roof of the Stone County Detention Center and jailers notified the Mountain View Fire Department. The fire was started inside the return air ducts from two inmates' cells. The fire burned upward through the ducts to the attic, causing a section of the duct to become engulfed in flames. Flames then spread to the wooden frame structure and throughout the attic, but firemen were able to extinguish the flames quickly, according to a report by Sgt. Tommy Cleveland and Cpl. Ross Dean of the Arkansas State Police.
All inmates were evacuated to facilities in Searcy, Independence and Cleburne counties, said Stone County Sheriff Bill Jason.
Two points of origin were discovered, along with evidence linking suspects Shankle and inmate Johnny Dean Johnson to the fire, the report noted.
Johnson was also being held at the jail on first-degree murder charges. Bond for the two has been set at $20,000 each for the arson incident.
Martz said his office is trying to identify the person responsible for delivering the blades to the jail so he can file charges.
Two additional suspects connected with the Agnos murder remain at the Fulton County jail charged with first-degree murder. Timothy Est, 19, and Jessie Petty, 20, were arrested July 8. Bond was set at $100,000 each for the pair.