The four Muscogee County Jail inmates who attacked another inmate on Dec. 13 have been identified as Gangster Disciple members, according to Sheriff Donna Tompkins.
Chaz Watson was booked into the jail on Dec. 4 for a probation violation and suspended license. Because of his criminal history, he was put in a maximum-security, Tompkins said this week.
Watson was stabbed in the left eye. He was attacked by four inmates and stabbed with a makeshift knife made out of a piece of shower tile. Lydell Sparks, Itavius Jones, Devonte Morris and Demarco Pierce have been charged with aggravated battery in the attack.
Watson did not have a gang affiliation, according to the sheriff’s staff.
Sparks, Jones, Morris and Pierce are confirmed members of Gangster Disciple, Tompkins said. Jail staff uses a number of methods to identify gang members who are incarcerated. Those include tattoos and interviews,
Gangster Disciples is a well-established gang that started in the mid-1960s in Chicago. The gang operates inside and outside of correctional facilities, said Ray Ham, director of education for the Georgia Gang Investigators Association, based in Atlanta.
“Inside of a correctional facility, they are very organized and very structured,” Ham said on Tuesday. “They like to call themselves a movement or organization rather than a gang.”
There are currently 1,120 inmates in the Muscogee County Jail, with 63 of them facing murder charges. At least two-thirds of the inmates are confirmed gang members, Tompkins said.
An organization like the Gangster Disciples operates with a strict hierarchy, Ham said.
“It’s rigid,” Ham said. “A jail would operate like a mini-town. You may have GD members from Columbus, Phenix City, Auburn, LaGrange, but the highest ranking one would run it like they do out on the streets.”
It is unusual for Gangster Disciple members to attack each other.
“That is extremely rare,” Ham said. “GD on GD almost never happens where you will see Crips on Crips and Bloods on Bloods.”
There have been multiple inmate-on-inmate assaults in the Muscogee County Jail in the last two weeks that have left four men injured, including one who lost an eye after being stabbed, Sheriff Donna Tompkins confirmed to News 3 Monday afternoon.
“There have been a series of assaults in the jail and we believe that most of those are gang-related,” Tompkins said. “.
Sparks was originally in the jail on aggravated battery, aggravated assault and armed robbery charges stemming from an October incident.
Jones was in the jail awaiting trial on burglary, criminal gang activity, aggravated assault, and theft by taking a motor vehicle charges from an August arrest. He also had a probation violation.
Morris was originally facing an aggravated assault from early November. Pierce is in jail facing armed robbery and battery with physical harm charges from May.