Two inmates indicted for October ‘melee’
As of Jan. 1, 40% of Essex County’s detainees were facing or being held on violent charges, Sheriff Kevin Coppinger said.
Two Middleton Jail and House of Correction inmates have been indicted for their alleged roles in an Oct. 22 “melee” that sent four to the hospital and ignited calls to improve working conditions in the jail.
Six inmates were involved in the incident, some of them using improvised shanks — edged weapons — to attack a fellow inmate, Essex County Sheriff Kevin Coppinger said at the time.
Two officers and two inmates were treated for minor injuries.
“We will not tolerate attacks on our officers. We will prosecute and we will seek justice,” Coppinger said in a press release Monday. “This incident demonstrates the danger our officers face each and every day. For me, officer safety is the top priority.”
Jorge Delgado-Medina, 26, of Melrose, was charged with assault and battery and assault and battery with a dangerous weapon. Adrian Corniel De La Cruz, 18, of Lawrence, was charged with two counts of armed assault with intent to murder, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, and assault with a dangerous weapon.
The indictments were handed down last week by an Essex County Superior Court grand jury, the sheriff’s department said. The charges are punishable by up to 10 years in state prison for assault and battery with a dangerous weapon and up to 20 years for assault and battery with intent to murder.
Coppinger said there has been an increase in inmate aggression at Essex County correctional facilities as the number of those awaiting trial on violent and gang-related crime continues to rise.
The Essex County Correctional Officers Association shared similar observations following the Oct. 22 incident, calling the Middleton Jail a “pressure cooker” with a rapidly deteriorating atmosphere.
As of Jan. 1, 40% of the county’s detainees were facing or being held on violent charges, including murder, attempted murder, rape, and assault, according to the sheriff’s press release. The department averages more than 1,100 inmates daily.
In addition to Delgado-Medina and Corniel De La Cruz, four other incarcerated individuals were previously charged in the altercation.
They include Julio Cruz, 24, of Lawrence, who was charged with two counts of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon and assault with a dangerous weapon; Johan Aquino, 22, of Lawrence, who was charged with assault and battery; Luis Perlera, 19, of Lunenberg, who was charged with assault and battery; and Lennox Pierre-Louis, 21, of Roxbury, who was charged with assault and battery with a dangerous weapon.
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