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Dale County jail reopens after brawl
Inmates return after destructive takeover attempt leaves windows broken, cells damaged

OZARK (AP) — More than 50 Dale County Jail inmates who were removed following a destructive takeover attempt last month are back in the building, which had been closed while broken windows and damaged cells were repaired.

Former jail inmates Kent Stewart, 43, and Katoni Tellis, 23, have been charged with attempted murder, escape, criminal mischief and two counts of assault for the May 11 violence, which injured three jailers and one inmate.

The other inmates were transferred to jails in Coffee, Henry and Houston counties before being returned to the jail Monday.

"I was ready for them. You appreciate the help from your neighbors but you don't want to weigh them down," Dale County Sheriff Wally Olson told The Dothan Eagle in a Tuesday story. "I'm glad to see the inmates come back."

Injured recovering

Olson said the four people who were injured are all recovering and out of medical facilities. They have given sworn statements and "some were still pretty shaken up," he said. Their names have not been released.

Officials say the attempted takeover started around 9:40 p.m. and lasted for about one hour. Inmates called dispatchers and said that during the nightly lockdown, Stewart and Tellis went into the jail's control room and attacked a jailer with a homemade knife and a piece of metal taken from a jail bunk bed.

The two other jailers and one inmate were attacked as other inmates began breaking windows and light fixtures throughout the jail. Metal cell beds and benches were also torn from the floors during the riot.

Both Stewart and Tellis eventually surrendered, Olson said.

Stewart was being held in the Dale County Jail without bond on charges of raping a 10-year-old girl in Ozark in April and for violating the Community Notification Act as a sex offender. The day before the uprising, Tellis had been sentenced to 30 years in prison for robbery of a delivery man. Both have been transferred to a state prison.

Charges pending

Olson said charges against some other inmates are pending an investigation by the Alabama Bureau of Investigation.

The three jailers injured had worked at the jail for less than a year and were overseeing 71 inmates when the violence occurred. Olson said the jail was not overcrowded, but he is still working to increase jail staff.

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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