MORGANTOWN, W.Va. -- West Virginia State Police and officials with the Regional Jail Authority are investigating the severe beating of an inmate at the North Central Regional Jail after a fight with a federal prisoner being held at the same facility.
Nineteen-year-old Jeron Hawkins was at Ruby Memorial Hospital in Morgantown on Wednesday, but a spokeswoman wouldn't comment on his status.
Hawkins suffered "very, very serious head injuries, and his family is being notified,'' said Joe DeLong, executive director of the jail authority. Hawkins was still alive as of Wednesday afternoon, he said.
Hawkins was convicted of first-degree murder last fall in the 2011 shooting of 28-year-old Lucas Lee outside a nightclub in Morgantown. He was also convicted of malicious assault and had been sentenced to life in prison. In West Virginia's overcrowded correctional system, though, convicted felons often languish in regional jails until prison beds open up.
The Clarksburg Exponent-Telegram, which first reported the assault, said Hawkins was in an altercation Monday morning with 35-year-old Anthony Young, a federal inmate who was scheduled to be sentenced last week in a fatal 2006 assault at the U.S. Penitentiary at Hazelton.
Federal court records show that Jan. 3 hearing was postponed.
Young is one of several federal prisoners awaiting sentencing in the attack on Willie Myers, who was beaten and stabbed at least four times during a dispute between members of the Bloods and Crips gangs.
Court records show Young is a member of the Bloods; Myers was a Crip.
Young pleaded guilty in November 2011 to federal charges of conspiracy to commit assault, assault resulting in serious injury and making false statements.
DeLong said Young is among 134 federal inmates currently housed in regional jails across West Virginia under a contract with the U.S. Marshals Service.
"It's actually very common,'' he said.