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Six St. Louis inmates face charges stemming from abduction of jail guard

ST. LOUIS (AP) — Six inmates at the downtown St. Louis jail are facing charges related to the abduction last week of a 73-year-old jail guard.

Charging documents released Monday by the St. Louis Circuit Attorney's Office offered insight into how the guard was taken hostage around 6 a.m. on Aug. 22. He was freed by a police SWAT team more than two hours later and treated at a hospital for minor injuries.

Two inmates jailed on first-degree murder charges, Eric Williams and Anthony Newberry, were outside their cells helping the guard deliver breakfast trays to other inmates, charging documents stated. Williams allegedly began punching the guard, knocking him to the ground. The document said Newberry joined in the attack and the men pulled the guard to a shower area.

Newberry allegedly took the guard's cell keys and began unlocking “all the cells in the pod,” charging documents stated. Dozens of inmates left their cells.

Inmates Paul Mondaine and Earnest Lyons moved the guard to a table inside the pod, where he was handcuffed and had his legs shackled, documents stated. Newberry and Richard Bolden III smashed televisions, and inmates used pieces taken from the TVs, along with broom and mop handles, to make weapons, according to the documents.

Mondaine allegedly used one of the handmade weapons, held it near the guard, and told him, “I’ll cut your throat if they come in here.”

SWAT officers were able to free the guard shortly after 8 a.m., more than two hours after the abduction began. The motive behind the abduction remains under investigation but Corrections Director Jennifer Clemons-Abdullah said at a news conference Aug. 22 that one inmate demanded pizza.

Interim Public Safety Director Chris Coyle said “less-than-lethal ammunition” was used on the inmates, but he did not elaborate. Coyle said two inmates suffered minor injuries inflicted by other inmates during the hostage situation.

Five of the inmates are charged with first-degree kidnapping: Williams, 20; Newberry, 29; Mondaine, 29; Lyons, 21; and Cleveland Washington Jr. 21. Bolden, Newberry and Washington are charged with damaging the jail. Williams and Newberry also face assault charges. Mondaine also is charged with unlawful use of a weapon.

The inmates do not yet have listed attorneys, according to Missouri's online court records. All are being held without bond.

The abduction was the latest of several acts of violence inside the jail, known as the City Justice Center, which holds nearly 700 inmates.

Advocates for inmates have long complained about conditions at the jail. It was the site of three uprisings among inmates between late 2020 and early 2021.

In February 2021, inmates set fires, caused flooding, broke out fourth-floor windows and tossed chairs and other items through the broken glass. A guard also was attacked. Inmates again broke windows and set a fire during another riot in April 2021. A month later, Dale Glass, the embattled director of the jail, resigned.