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Fla. jail inmate creates makeshift ‘paint ball’ weapon, attacks other inmate

The inmate had four golf ball-size bruises on the upper back and a head bruise following the incident

Paint chip

A “paint ball” is described as paint scraped from the jail wall, rolled up, and then placed inside a sock.

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By Austin L. Miller
Ocala Star-Banner, Fla.

OCALA, Fla. — Marion County Sheriff’s Office officials have accused a 21-year-old jail inmate of battering a fellow inmate with a makeshift “paint ball” weapon.

The victim is Clifton Anthony Bliss, who is in jail awaiting trial in a second-degree murder case. He’s accused of killing his neighbor in a dispute about a wayward cat.

Bliss told Jail Investigator Nathan McLain that a man, later identified as Brent T. James, was in his cell making several demands, including Bliss’ supplies from the jail canteen. Bliss, 58, said he resisted, and James removed a “paint ball” from his clothing and struck him with it several times.

A “paint ball” is described as paint scraped from the jail wall, rolled up, and then placed inside a sock. Jail officials said “paint ball” weapons are not intended to be deadly or cause serious injury.

Bliss said he chased James out of his cell and reported the incident to detention deputies. He was taken to medical for treatment. The report notes that Bliss was then transferred to another area of the jail.

McLain said Bliss had four golf ball-size yellow bruises on the upper back, and a head bruise.

Bliss is accused of shooting his neighbor, James Arland Taylor, to death on Oct. 21 in Umatilla.

Sheriff’s deputies were told that Bliss thought a cat from Taylor’s residence had come onto Bliss’ property. Bliss went to confront Taylor, 41. A witness told deputies that the men were outside when Bliss, armed with a rifle, shot Taylor twice. Taylor died at the scene.

During a bail hearing last month, Bliss and his wife said they feared for his safety and mentioned the jailhouse beating. Bliss was being held without bail, but at the hearing the judge agreed to set bail at $750,000.

As of Thursday, Bliss remained at the jail.

By the time of the bail hearing, the Sheriff’s Office already was investigating Bliss’ complaint. McLain said in his report that he was informed about Bliss’ allegation on Nov. 10.

McLain reviewed jail surveillance video.

According to his report, the recording shows James entering Bliss’ cell. Bliss, who was lying down, attempted to get up and there was a struggle.

Bliss was hit multiple times in the head and back with a long white object from behind and he struggled to get up from the floor.

Bliss eventually stood up and left the cell, according to the report. James walked upstairs, and Bliss followed him.

The investigator interviewed Bliss, who said James initially wanted pills, then commissary, and then launched the attack when he was rebuffed.

James declined to be interviewed.

James has been charged with battery by a person detained in a jail facility. It’s not his first battery arrest. Local court records indicate that in late October 2020, James was charged with battery on a law enforcement officer while he was at a nearby juvenile detention center.

The arrest report states James wanted a new pair of shoes and was told no. James allegedly got angry and tussled with an employee. The skirmish ended when James pushed the man into a closet and a fire extinguisher discharged, officials said.

Another report states at the same juvenile facility a few days before, James was seen on video with his arms around the neck of a fellow inmate. Both of them fell to the ground and they were separated, according to the report.

The inmate told juvenile officials that James was sitting in the chair and left to play video games. Another juvenile sat in the chair and he left. The inmate said he sat in the chair. He said James said something about the chair while choking him.

Prosecutors have filed charges in each of those cases, both of which are pending. He’s being held at the jail without bail.

(c)2021 the Ocala Star-Banner (Ocala, Fla.)