SMITH COUNTY, TX (KLTV)- An East Texan was killed in prison while serving a sentence for sexual assault.
According to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, on August 7, Elasko Thomas was found bleeding from the neck at his cell door at the Robertson Unit near Abilene.
He was taken to the medical unit, and then transferred to a hospital, but died en route.
Thomas was serving a life sentence for sexually assaulting a woman in Smith County back in 2010. ..Source.. by KLTV Web Staff
Three of 10 homicides in Texas prisons this year were in Abilene units, officials say
The Texas Department of Criminal Justice has reported 10 prison homicides this year, with three of those deaths being reported in Abilene's two units, according to a recent Associated Press article.
The article published Monday says this year's numbers are indicating a swell of violent rate of death in prisons. The 10 deaths this year are up from three homicides in 2011, five in 2010 and one in 2009, the AP reported.
The latest slaying in Texas prisons occurred in the Robertson Unit last month — the first such death listed as a homicide within the unit in the past seven years, said Jason Clark, TDCJ spokesman.
"It's definitely jumped out at us," Bruce Toney, the agency's inspector general, told the AP about the increase. "It definitely has not been an average year."
On Aug. 7, during checks at the Robertson Unit, inmate Elasko Thomas was found standing at the door of his cell, holding his neck and bleeding profusely. He was transported to Hendrick Medical Center, where he died about an hour later.
Clark said Thomas had an altercation with his cellmate Michael Deloach.
Deloach has refused to cooperate with the investigation, Clark said.
There have been two homicides this year at the Middleton Unit, Clark said, both the result of June assaults.
The Middleton Unit is a transfer facility — inmates are sent from this prison to other prisons in the state for the duration of their confinement. The Robertson Unit is a maximum-security facility.
On June 3, a fight with another Middleton inmate resulted in the death of a 47-year-old Dallas man. Mark Anthony Rauls was injured after Cody Lane Vernon allegedly struck Rauls' head on a concrete floor. Rauls died two days later after being taken off life support at Hendrick.
Twenty days later, on June 26, Middleton Unit inmate Billy Dickerson fought in a dorm dayroom with an inmate identified as Maurice Miller.
Clark said Dickerson was observed lying on the floor while he was bleeding from the back of his head. Dickerson was escorted to the unit's infirmary and then was transported by ambulance to Hendrick. He was later released from Hendrick and transferred to the Montford Unit's Regional Medical Center in Lubbock, according to agency records.
Five days after Dickerson was assaulted, officers found him unresponsive while they were performing security checks, Clark said. Additional staff responded, Clark said, but even after life-saving procedures were initiated, Dickerson was pronounced dead.
No weapons were reported to have been used during the June 26 assault.
Clark said each homicide is being investigated by the Office of Inspector General.
According to The Associated Press, the 10 homicides don't appear to be connected and have been scattered throughout the 111-prison state system. The reason for the surge — the highest number in 15 years, is uncertain, Toney said.
He described the majority of the deaths as the result of "hands and feet kicking" and not a question of inmates armed with contraband weapons. More than half of the fatal attacks were committed in cells and involved altercations between cellmates, making it difficult to prevent, he said.
"It's a situation where they have some kind of disagreement and it results in a death," Toney told the AP. "Inside a prison cell, everything is metal so that leaves the potential for injuries if someone gets knocked down."
According to the AP, in the 1980s, a much smaller Texas corrections department dealt with a wave of violence.
In 1985, 27 inmates were killed and hundreds of others hurt in attacks at a time when Texas prisons housed only about one-fourth of the more than 150,000 convicts now incarcerated, the AP reported. ..Source.. by Denise Blaz
ELASKO THOMAS, 38, Tyler, died Aug. 7. Brooks-Sterling & Garrett Funeral Directors, Tyler. ..Source..