Tommy Joe Smith, 40, was just trying to find a bunk in a dorm at the Tangipahoa, La., Parish Jail last week after he was booked on a probation violation associated with an earlier conviction for a sex crime. Most of the 21 other inmates in the dorm to which Smith was assigned took umbrage at his presence, says Sheriff Daniel Edwards, the brother of Gov. John Bel Edwards, reports The Advocate. When Smith threw his stuff on a bunk on the second floor of the dorm, he was told he wasn’t welcome. When he went to the first floor, he was told the same thing.
Before he could speak to a guard, he was hit from behind. When he turned around, a group of 12 inmates attacked him, beating Smith to death in an attack that witnesses likened to a “shark feeding frenzy,” says the Sheriff’s Office. Edwards insisted that all jail personnel acted appropriately. District Attorney Scott Perrilloux, the district attorney for the 21st Judicial District said stories of problems at the jail have percolated for some time. “There’s a lot of anecdotal evidence that the jail is in a state of chaos,” he said.