COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) – The Muscogee County jail inmate suspected in the fatal beating another inmate over the weekend has been charged with murder, Sheriff Donna Tompkins said in a Tuesday afternoon news conference.
Jayvon Hatchett, 19, is accused of killing Eddie Nelson Jr., 39. Nelson was found dead in his jail cell early Saturday morning. The Muscogee County Corners Office pronounced him dead and said he died of blunt force trauma.
Hatchett was in jail on assault charges stemming from an attack on an AutoZone employee last month. During a Recorders Court hearing, Columbus Police said the AutoZone stabbing was racially motivated. They said Hatchett was looking for a “white male to kill.”
“No one in my agency was aware when they classified him, when they put him where they put him,” Tompkins said. “No one was aware of a specific threat to any group, nor did he indicate any to our security, medical or mental health staff,”
Nelson was in jail on a probation violation. He had failed to register as a sex offender, according to the Muscogee County Sheriff’s Office.
Nelson and Hatchett had both been seen by jail mental health professionals, Tompkins said. They had been cellmates for 10 days prior to the fatal beating.
The altercation happened about 1:30 Saturday morning. When deputies pulled Hatchett off Nelson, Hatchett did say something to them.
“The utterance he made was that the inmate had put a hair in his sandwich,” Tompkins said.
The Sheriff’s Office handled the investigation internally, There is a second investigation ongoing about how Hatchett and Nelson ended up as cellmates.
“The reason I did not call the GBI is because we had a deputy sheriff who observed this,” she said. “This is not a whodunit. We know what happened.”
Tompkins was asked if the situation was preventable.
“That is a question that I can not answer for you today,” she said. “I don’t know. I know that these two gentlemen had been in the same cell together for a week.”
Hatchett was charged with aggravated assault and possession of a weapon during the commission of a crime in the AutoZone stabbing.