CO watched ‘fight game’ that lead to death of juvenile inmate, Ga. officials say

Thomas Lee Hicks, 30, faces a count of second-degree murder and child cruelty charges in connection with the Aug. 9 incident


By Tanasia Kenney
The Charlotte Observer

WAYCROSS, Ga. - A correctional officer looked on as young inmates took part in a “fight game” that led to the death of a juvenile in south Georgia, state investigators say.

Thomas Lee Hicks, 30, now faces a count of second-degree murder and child cruelty charges in connection with the deadly Aug. 9 incident at the Waycross Regional Youth Detention Center in Waycross, according to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.

Hicks was arrested Tuesday, Aug. 16, and booked into the Ware County Jail, officials said. He’s also charged with a count of violation of oath of office.

The detention center, where Hicks worked as a youth corrections officer, asked the GBI to investigate after a juvenile lost consciousness while with staffers and other inmates at the jail, according to a news release.

“Information from the GBI investigation revealed that Hicks allowed juveniles to participate in a fight game in his presence,” investigators wrote.

Paramedics arrived and took the juvenile to a hospital in Savannah, where they died, authorities said. The GBI has released neither the inmate’s name nor their age.

Hicks remained in the Ware County Jail without bond as of Wednesday, Aug. 17, booking records show.

Waycross is about 120 miles southwest of Savannah.

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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