Monday, December 18, 2017
Public safety

Inmate pummeled at Pasco jail for not handing over his food, report says

LAND O'LAKES — Steven Hayden has been in the Pasco jail since March 20 on drug, traffic and concealed weapon charges. On Monday afternoon, he was in the recreation yard when two men approached him.

"Pay me your commissary food or fight," they said, according to a Pasco County Sheriff's Office report.

Hayden, 42, of Spring Hill, said he doesn't buy things from the commissary, a store inside the jail that sells food and toiletries.

"The two inmates then told him he'll have to pay them with his meal trays or he'll have to fight them," the report states.

"So you want to starve a man," Hayden replied, the report states. "No way am I giving you my meals."

The men punched and kicked Hayden, who was beaten so severely that afternoon he "suffered multiple facial fractures," the report says. Hayden told investigators that he lost consciousness during the beating and woke up in the hospital. Pasco Sheriff's spokesman Kevin Doll said detention deputies had a different story. They said Hayden was conscious and not cooperating.

"He was denying that anybody beat him up," Doll said.

The deputies could clearly see something happened, Doll said, and eventually Hayden pointed out the suspects: Derrick Raynard Wright, 20, of Dade City, and Eddie James Murphy, 18, of Lake City. Wright has been incarcerated since 2010 on robbery, grand theft auto and concealed weapon charges. Murphy is a prison inmate who is being held at the Pasco jail for a court appearance. He's serving a three-year sentence for burglary.

Both men are members of the Piru Gang, authorities said.

Hayden was treated at the emergency room at Regional Medical Center Bayonet Point and returned to the jail, Doll said.

Doll said there is no internal investigation into how the fight was able to happen.

The inmates "are supervised, but there can be a lot of inmates in the yard at once," Doll said, "and violence such as this can quickly occur."

Wright and Murphy now both face charges of battery on a detention detainee.

Erin Sullivan can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 869-6229.

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