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Inmate charged in fatal attack at a county jail in Wisconsin

August 26, 2021 GMT

WEST BEND, Wis. (AP) — An inmate in a southeastern Wisconsin county jail has been charged with killing another inmate in what the local sheriff called a “vicious, unprovoked attack.”

According to Washington County sheriff’s officials, the 23-year-old inmate was attacked, kicked in the head 28 times at the jail in West Bend Aug. 17 and died over the weekend.

A Washington County judge on Wednesday set bond at $750,000 cash for 31-year-old George Telford, of Fargo, North Dakota, who is charged with first-degree intentional homicide and battery to a prisoner. The judge also ordered a competency exam.

Sheriff Martin Schulteis said Telford has been jailed since July 4 on a domestic incident and had no history of major discipline.

“This was, for all intents and purposes, an unprovoked attack,” said Schulteis. “It was not a jail fight. It was an attack on a fellow human being.”

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The victim from Washington County had been in jail for two days on a probation hold through the Wisconsin Department of Corrections, WITI-TV reported. He has not been identified.

Telford and the victim were housed in the same cellblock with five other inmates at the time of the attack, the sheriff’s office said. None of the other inmates were involved or intervened in the attack.

Washington County corrections officers and medical staff responded to the cellblock after an officer saw the assault taking place, according to the sheriff’s office. The officer immediately activated the emergency response protocol, which sent all inmates in the cellblock back to their cells and locked down the unit.

Telford’s public defender, Andrew Leech, did not immediately return a call for comment.