12 inmates arrested in connection with Tangipahoa jail death

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

Photo courtesy of WBRZ.

AMITE, La. (WGNO) – Twelve inmates at the Tangipahoa Parish Jail have been arrested in connection with the brutal beating death of inmate Tommy Smith.

According to the Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff’s Office, 40-year-old Smith was booked into the jail about 11 p.m. Jan. 30 for a probation violation and placed in a dorm with 21 other inmates.

Investigators said Smith tried to take a bunk on the second floor, but was told by other inmates that he wasn’t welcome there.

Witnesses said Smith was compliant and non-confrontational, grabbing his mat and going back downstairs.

According to 40 interviews done by detectives, Smith was walking to a deputy to request another dorm when he was struck from behind by another inmate.

As Smith turned around to defend himself, he was brutally attacked my multiple offenders.

The vicious attack, which happened after lights out, was described by other inmates as a “shark feeding frenzy.”

The sheriff’s office said the attack was extremely brutal and very quick.

When the deputy observed the attack, jail staff responded within minutes.

They found one of Smith’s attackers trying to give CPR on Smith’s lifeless body.

 

One of the 12 inmates arrested for Smith’s death is a juvenile. The other 11 are facing charges of second-degree murder and obstruction of justice. Two of the 11 inmates are additionally charged with second-degree robbery for stealing Smith’s shoes while he was being attacked.

The juvenile, who is currently being held on unrelated homicide charges, was additionally charged with principal to second-degree murder.

“News of this unprovoked and heinous attack is extremely troubling,” Sheriff Daniel Edwards said. “We strive to provide safety to all those in Tangipahoa Parish, including those incarcerated within the Tangipahoa Parish Jail. Through an investigative account of this incident, it has been discovered all protocols relating to a response to such an event were preformed expeditiously. Unfortunately, due to the number of individuals involved in the altercation, along with the incident occurring within a secured environment, our victim was limited with an escape. This type of environment provides many limitations when taking into account the safety of staff, emergency medical responders, as well as the inmates themselves.”

The following inmates are charged with Smith’s death:

  • Herman Bagent, 20
  • Brent Collins, 30
  • Lionel Brister, 22
  • Randall Holmes, 27
  • James Milton, 23
  • Eric Newman, 18
  • William Patterson, 22
  • Tyquan Davis, 22
  • Antwon Seymore, 19
  • Ronald Faulkner, 38
  • Travis Robertson, 28
  • One juvenile