COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - Investigators have charged a Muscogee County Jail inmate with killing his cellmate.
Deputies said the victim, Eddie Nelson Jr., was beaten to death over the weekend.
The suspect is the same man who told authorizes two weeks ago, he’d attacked another man because of his race. Muscogee County Sheriff Donna Tompkins addressed reporters Tuesday and said, “The reason I didn’t call the GBI about this case was, we have a deputy sheriff who observed this. This is not a ‘who done it.’ We know what happened and the person has been charged with murder.”
The suspect, 19-year-old Jayvon Hatchett, was in jail following what police call a racially motivated stabbing of an AutoZone store employee he did not previously know. Hatchett reportedly admitted to police he stabbed the man because he was white.
Tompkins said although WTVM released information on Hatchett’s motivation for the assault at AutoZone, neither she nor anyone in her department knew of the potential threat Hatchett posed to his cellmate, who was white. Now, Tompkins is ordering a subsequent investigation to find out how that information was missed.
Tompkins said more than 72 hours after Nelson was beat to death, Hatchett is now charged with murder.
“One of our deputies was alerted to a fight in a dorm by other inmates. Our deputy entered the dorm and observed inmate Jayvon Hatchett on top of inmate Eddie Nelson," Tompkins said.
Even with medical aid, Nelson died as a result of his injuries. Tompkins said as deputies pulled Hatchett from Nelson’s body and he made this comment.
“Yes, the utterance he made was that the inmate had put a hair in his sandwich," Tompkins said.
Tompkins said Hatchett did confess to killing Nelson.
“We were not notified about the specifics behind this crime, I understand the media reported it but that does not necessarily translate to something that law enforcement knows," Tompkins said regarding the stabbing at AutoZone.
Tompkins said the initial report the jail received from police did not indicate any threat or show the motivation police said Hatchett confessed to them.
“I did order a subsequent investigation, an internal investigation, into his classification and what knowledge we had of his charges," Tompkins said.
Tompkins said there is no external agency looking into the murder because she had a deputy who observed it happening.
Tompkins said the investigation is still active and there will be a court hearing tomorrow Wednesday at 9 a.m. She said this situation sheds light on a need for better communication between police, sheriff’s deputies, courts, and the jail. Tompkins said even with all the media coverage, her staff had no idea of any threat.
“No one in my agency was aware when they classified him or when they put him where they put him, no one was aware of a specific threat to any group, nor did he indicate any to this point to our security or mental health staff," Tompkins said.
Authorities said Hatchett did not mention race in his confession for this crime.