NVDAILY.COM | Local News

Posted April 2, 2013 | comments Leave a comment

Inmate accused of breaking deputy's nose and jaw

By Joe Beck

Clyde Eugene Burrell Jr., already facing a charge of attempted capital murder of a law enforcement officer, is facing new accusations of having broken the nose and jaw of a deputy in the Warren County Jail early on March 30.

The deputy, Thomas Ratigan, an 11-year veteran of the Sheriff's Office, was taken to Warren Memorial Hospital where he was released after treatment for the broken nose, two jaw fractures and a cut, according to a news release issued by Sheriff Daniel T. McEathron.

Burrell was taken to the Northwestern Regional Adult Detention Center after the incident where he remains held without bond under maximum security, authorities said.

McEathron said the confrontation started around 12:55 a.m. when Ratigan saw Burrell creating a disturbance inside the cellblock where he was confined. Ratigan told Burrell he was being moved elsewhere in the jail and ordered him out of the cellblock, according to McEathron.

Burrell left the cellblock carrying some belonging, but set them down and then hit Ratigan in the face, McEathron said. Ratigan responded by spraying Burrell with pepper spray, according to McEathron. Deputies Jimmy Tharpe and Ronald Buracker, who answered an earlier request for assistance from Ratigan, helped restrain Burrell and place him in handcuffs, McEathron said.

Burrell, 34, was jailed on July 28 after Front Royal police accused him of brutally beating Sgt. Bryan Courtney in an incident that led to the charge of attempted murder, malicious wounding of a law enforcement officer, assault on law enforcement officers and violation of probation.

Court records describe a life-and-death struggle that broke out between Burrell and Courtney when the officer stopped him for questioning on North Shenandoah Avenue during the evening of July 28.

Authorities say Burrell wrested Courtney's baton from him and beat him with it during the fight. Burrell raised the baton over his head to hit Courtney again when Detective Jason Lethcoe arrived, tackled the defendant and managed to subdue him with the help of a passerby, according to police.

Courtney was hospitalized for several days and didn't return to his regular street patrol duties until about a month ago. Lethcoe was also hospitalized, although he was released hours later for treatment of lesser injuries.

McEathron said Ratigan was likely to return to full duty within a few days.

"We gave him a couple days off his shift off to help him recover, but there's no reason to believe he won't be back." McEathron said in an interview.

McEathron said Burrell's record, which also includes a conviction for assault and battery to a law enforcement officer in 2011, "made him no stranger" to police.

"I believe the reason they needed to move him to another location in the jail was because he was not getting along with other jail inmates," McEathron said.

Superintendent James F. Whitley of the Northwestern Adult Regional Detention Center said the seven staff members who met Burrell upon his arrival was larger than the usual contingent of three assigned to such duty.

"They basically wanted to make sure there were no issues," Whitley said.

Warren County is not part of the detention center's normal jurisdiction, but Whitley called it "a pretty standard practice" for an inmate who has injured jail staff members elsewhere to be taken in at his facility.

"It's just for everybody's benefit that he be moved to another facility," Whitley said of Burrell.

Contact staff writer Joe Beck at 540-465-5137 ext. 142, or jbeck@nvdaily.com

Copyright © The Northern Virginia Daily | nvdaily.com | 152 N. Holliday St., Strasburg, Va. 22657 | (800) 296-5137