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Inmate Caused Thousands of Dollars in Damage to Cell

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WINTERSET, Iowa -- The Madison County Jail is left to pick up the pieces and the bill after an inmate heavily damaged his cell.

Officials say 41-year-old Shawn Edward Laird, of Knoxville, was arrested for an incident that happened at the end of February.

“The individual was caught driving a stolen vehicle. Ran from one of our deputies, attempted to use the vehicle he was driving to run over our deputy,” said Madison County Chief Deputy James Ascione.

Laird was charged with assault on a peace officer. His time in jail had been uneventful until last Wednesday morning.

“All of a sudden, dispatch calls and said, ‘I need help. Individual’s basically going crazy, destroying stuff.’ By the time we get there, he had removed a TV from the wall and destroyed that,” Ascione said.

Laird had also taken the phone from the wall and destroyed it. Ascione said the inmate used his bed frame to break out a window made from safety glass that was about 4-feet-wide.

The window alone costs between $3,000 and $5,000.

The sheriff's office said there was no warning that Laird would attack his cell.

“There’s no indication of you know any previous outbreaks. There’s no talk of anything before. It just happened, and I wish it wouldn’t have because our budget cannot sustain this type damage,” Ascione said.

Laird claimed he was tired of people lying to him. He gave officials a name and pointed to a staff member, but Ascione said the name Laird gave was not the name of the staff member.

Laird has been moved to a different cell at the Madison County Jail and reportedly is sorry.

“He somewhat apologized for it, but of course, that's after the fact. Doesn’t help with the TV or the phone or anything else he broke,” Ascione said.

No injuries were reported, just a big hit to the department’s budget.

Laird has been charged with second-degree criminal mischief.


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