By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Inmate charged in cellmate attack injures jailers in later incidents
Gabriel Michael Lawton
Gabriel Michael Lawton

A Bulloch County Jail inmate charged with attacking another inmate earlier this month racked up more charges after more violent encounters left two jailers with injuries.

Gabriel Michael Lawton, of Northlake Drive in Statesboro, was first incarcerated in February on charges of shoplifting, cocaine and marijuana possession, according to jail records. On July 2, he was charged with aggravated battery and two counts of riot in a penal institution after attacking an elderly inmate, sending him to the hospital with serious injuries, and striking another older inmate, said Bulloch County Sheriff’s Chief Deputy Bill Black

Lawton, 30, again wrought havoc July 4 when he was placed under observation after threatening harm to himself. According to Bulloch County Sheriff’s incident reports, Lawton asked for medical attention for a gash he received on his forehead when he reportedly fell. A short time after being returned to his cell following treatment, he told a jailer he felt like “killing himself,” reports stated.

The jailer then placed Lawton alone in an interview room so he could be monitored, but after about 10 minutes he began throwing a table and chairs, and kicking the door, according to reports.

Surveillance video shows Lawton kicking the door 27 times, damaging it to the point it jammed and would not open when jailers tried to remove him. A maintenance man was called to remove the door and Lawton was taken to another, solitary cell, reports said.

On July 7, a jailer was moving Lawton to another cell when the inmate refused to go. He told one of two jail employees they would “have to come in and get him,” and when the male jailer tried to talk him into compliance, Lawton swung at him and the jailer had to restrain him until other jailers came to assist, reports stated.

Two days later on July 9, two jailers were removing a meal tray from Lawton’s cell, working together due to the inmate’s previous behavior. Lawton told one jailer he needed a shower, and the jailer told him he would see that Lawton got a shower as soon as he finished picking up meal trays, according to reports

At that point, Lawton then demanded paperwork so he “could leave the jail” and allegedly moved towards the door. One of the jailers reportedly placed his hand against the inmate’s chest to stop him, and Lawton began fighting the two jailers. After Lawton was subdued and placed in solitary confinement, the two jailers were treated medically for injuries sustained in the struggle, Black said.

Lawton was again charged with riot in a penal institution, as well as battery against a peace officer. He was temporarily transferred to “another facility,” but is expected to return to the Bulloch County Jail, Black said.


Herald reporter Holli Deal Saxon may be reached at (912) 489-9414.

Sign up for the Herald's free e-newsletter