2 Mass. inmates indicted for assaulting COs

Sheriff: “We will not tolerate attacks on our officers. We will prosecute and we will seek justice.”

By Grace Zokovitch
Boston Herald

MIDDLETON, Mass. — Two inmates at the Middleton Jail and House of Correction were indicted last week on charges related to an Oct. 22 brawl that injured two inmates and two correctional officers, the Essex Sheriff’s Department said.

The inmates, Jorge Delgado-Medina, 26, of Melrose and Adrian Corniel De La Cruz, 18, of Lawrence, were charged by an Essex County Superior Court grand jury with assault and battery and assault and battery with a dangerous weapon. Corniel De La Cruz was also charged with two counts of armed assault with intent to murder.

“We will not tolerate attacks on our officers,” said Essex Sheriff Kevin Coppinger. “We will prosecute and we will seek justice.”

Coppinger added that “officer safety is the top priority.”

The Oct. 22 fight involved three handmade weapons and resulted in a facility-wide lockdown and two inmates and two guards being sent to the hospital with minor injuries. Facility staff said eight more weapons were discovered during a week-long search following the fight.

Coppinger cited “an increase in inmate aggression at Essex County correctional facilities as the numbers of those waiting to be tried on violent and gang-related crime continues to increase.”

About 40% of the inmates were detained on violent charges as of the start of 2023, the facility release said, and the county has a daily average of more than 1,100 inmates, the largest number in the state outside of Boston.

Four other inmates were previously charged in relation to the incident.

The assault and battery with a dangerous weapon charge could mean up to 10 years in prison. The charge of assault and battery with intent to murder could mean up to 20 years.

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McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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