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An Anderson County man remains in critical condition at the University of Louisville Hospital after being involved in a fight with another inmate at the Shelby County Detention Center Tuesday morning.
Jonathan Monroe, 24, who was incarcerated on drug charges, is still in the hospital’s intensive care unit with critical injuries after an argument over song lyrics led to a physical altercation in the middle of the night, police said.
“Right after dinner on Monday night, there was a verbal altercation between them where they were having words with each other; we do believe that there was also a small physical altercation [at that time] as well,” said Jason Rice, a detective with the Shelby County Sheriff’s office who is investigating the incident.
“Six hours later, there was another physical altercation. The initial disagreement came about over an argument about the words to music lyrics.”
Rice declined to release the identity of the other inmate involved in the fight.
“He has not been formally charged,” he said. “It’s not our policy to give names of suspects. I’m not throwing names out because something may change; they [prosecutors] might decide not to charge him.”
“There are some things that still need to be collected and done,” he said. “We have to see the [inmate] interviews transcribed. After the commonwealth attorney reviews those, we have to look back and see if there are any re-interviews that need to be done. After everything is done, I anticipate being able to present that to a grand jury to decide to make a determination to see if a person needs to be charged.”
Monroe was scheduled to be released from jail yesterday, so the decision was made to go ahead and release him when he was hospitalized, Rice said, because due to the severity of his injuries he would not be leaving the hospital before that date.
Rice said that he did not think that Monroe and the other inmate, who has been incarcerated since last spring on several felony charges, knew each other before Monroe was first lodged at the jail about two weeks ago.
He said he is still investigating the details of what occurred prior to the fight, which happened at 3 a.m. Tuesday morning in the cellblock where about 20 inmates were sleeping.
“There was some verbal jawing among several in there back and forth [before bedtime] and that’s just part of the environment, and it may just be something as simple as arguing over shower time, or somebody ate somebody else’s food,” he said. “You’ll always have those verbal spats in there.”
Shelby County Jailer Bobby Waits said while both inmates – the jail’s capacity is 312 and the population is near that – and staff are understandably upset about the situation, the morale at the jail is “not horrible.”
“We’re trying to work with the inmates as well as the staff that was involved with that,” he said. “Obviously, it’s a jail setting, you’re in close physical proximity with several inmates, and I’m sure that some [arguments] go unnoticed. This one was just more serious. We just try to deal with those and move on.”
Rice said his department is working to conclude the investigation as quickly as possible.
“This is a horrible situation,” he said. “Our thoughts and prayers are with everybody that’s involved, and we’re hoping to get to the truth of what exactly took place, so we can provide those answers to the family.”