FORT SMITH — A Sebastian County sheriff’s deputy says a county jail inmate suspected of killing another inmate claims God told him to kill.
Chief Deputy Tommy Young says 25-year-old Ashley Eugene Kaufman is suspected of strangling 64-year-old Gary Wolf Thursday morning in Kaufman’s cell.
It was not known whether Kaufman had an attorney.
Young says Kaufman told deputies he called Wolf into his cell after breakfast and strangled him with his hands then dragged his body into Wolf’s cell.
A deputy delivering medications found Wolf dead in his bunk.
Wolf was being held on charges of molesting two children. Kaufman was being held for kidnapping and battery. ..Source.. by Arkansas Online
Sebastian County Inmate Strangled In Cell
A Sebastian County inmate manually strangled another inmate Thursday morning after luring him into his jail cell, authorities said.
Ashley Eugene Kaufman, 25, was arrested on suspicion of first-degree murder for allegedly killing Gary Van Wolf, 64, of Fort Smith.
Kaufman told investigators that "God told him to do this," after admitting he killed Wolf.
During the criminal investigation, authorities learned that Kaufman called Wolf into his cell at about 9:30 a.m. and then he "strangled him with his bare hands," said Chief Deputy Tom Young of the Sebastian County Sheriff's Office.
Kaufman then dragged Wolf out of his cell and into Wolf's cell where he placed him on the bed, put a plastic bag around his head and tied a string around it, and then placed a sheet over him, Young said.
Wolf was found by a detention deputy within 20 minutes of his death, authorities said. A deputy passing out medication while making his rounds through a pod was approached by an inmate who told him to check on Wolf.
When the deputy went into Wolf's cell, he found him unresponsive and emergency medical personnel were called to the scene, Young said.
Kaufman told authorities he placed the bag around Wolf so he would suffocate in case he wasn't dead.
Wolf and Kaufman were housed in a protective custody pod away from other inmates. Inmates with sex offense-related charges are usually housed in this pod, Young said. Kaufman was transferred to this pod on Monday after he punched detention deputy Aaron Mariott in the jaw and neck, according to a jail incident report.
Kaufman has been in jail since Aug. 20 after he was arrested for severely battering another man, whom he allegedly bound with tape, kidnapped and dumped in a field, according to a police report.
Fort Smith police were notified that a man, later identified as Scott McLachlan, was found in a field in Dora on Aug. 19. Duct tape had been wrapped around McLachlan's feet and hands and placed over his mouth, according to the report. McLachlan told police that Kaufman stole his pickup and kidnapped him.
Kaufman admitted to officers he had beaten McLachlan and said he wished he had killed him, according to the report.
Other charges Kaufman faces include first-degree domestic battery, kidnapping without releasing the victim, a parole violation, petition to revoke a suspended sentence and second-degree battery for assaulting the deputy, according police and jail reports.
Wolf had been in jail since Sept. 9, charged with two counts of second-degree sexual assault, Young said.
Authorities accused Wolf of putting his hand in the underwear of two minor boys and feeling their genitals, according to a police report. The boys told authorities Wolf told them he lost a tooth and was searching for it in their underwear, according to the report.
An internal investigation into whether policies and procedures were followed at the jail will begin today, Young said. ..Source.. by Amy Sherrill
Suspected Child Molester Strangled in Jail When Guards Left Inmates Alone
FORT SMITH, Ark. (AP) - A report by the Sebastian County Sheriff's Office says jailers left inmates unguarded for an hour during the time an inmate accused of sex crimes with children was strangled.
The Times Record in Fort Smith reports 64-year-old Gary Van Wolf was likely lured from his cell, strangled, then dragged back to his cell. The inmate was found dead Sept. 16.
The sheriff's office has named 25-year-old inmate Ashley Eugene Kaufman as the suspect in the death.
Wolf was charged with two counts of sexual assault for allegedly fondling two boys, something Kaufman learned when he and Wolf made video court appearances.
Three jail employees were reprimanded, but the report also cites problems of overcrowding and too few jail staff members. ..Source.. by MyEyeWitnessNews.com