A man accused of stabbing his girlfriend, breaking into his wife’s home and endangering a child last month was allegedly assaulted by inmates Monday at the Montezuma County Detention Center.
According to an incident report written by Montezuma County Sheriff’s Deputy Alexander Kennedy, inmates David Maestas and Tharon Grayhair physically assaulted Wheat in his cell Monday morning until it was broken up by detention deputies.
Wheat told the initial investigator that the fight came after an argument over a breakfast cake. Wheat also told the investigator that Maestas entered his cell and punched him. Wheat defended himself, and Maestas left.
According to the report, Maestas returned to the cell with another inmate, Tharon Grayhair. Maestas allegedly started fighting with Wheat, at which time Grayhair put Wheat into a choke hold. Maestas then punched Wheat repeatedly, the deputy reported.
While this was happening, Grayhair and Maestas allegedly called Wheat racial epithets.
The initial investigator observed on camera that two other inmates, Kyle Nakkai and Tilden Arrates, closed the cell door during the assault to prevent Wheat from leaving.
When detention deputies are seen on camera entering the unit, inmate Jeremy Lehi allegedly obstructed them with his body from getting up the stairs to the cell.
Sheriff Steve Nowlin told The Journal that deputies arrived to break up the assault in a matter of “just minutes.”
The unit housing Wheat is locked down at night, but it opens up for meals. This might have been the window during which the assault happened, according to Nowlin.
Maestas was sent to the hospital for minor bodily injury. No other injuries were reported.
District Attorney Matt Margeson told The Journal that his office is reviewing reports and other evidence.
Wheat, 29, was charged last month with attempted second-degree murder, first-degree assault, felony menacing, second-degree aggravated motor vehicle theft, child abuse and obstructing a police officer.
Four additional charges are “crime of violence sentence enhancers” related to the charges of first-degree assault and attempted second-degree murder. In Colorado, judges may impose enhanced sentences on individuals convicted of violent crimes if the offender used a deadly weapon or caused serious bodily injury.
Bond for Wheat was set at $500,000.
Wheat’s preliminary healing is scheduled for March 4.