One accused killer didn't have too many years to serve in prison when he and another decided to allegedly kill inside Hays State Prison's walls in January.
Leonardo Ram Rodriques, 40, was into his fourth year of a 10-year prison sentence for involuntarily killing someone in Appling County in 2008.
But now Rodriques' prison stay could become much longer if he's found guilty of killing a fellow inmate.
He and 37-year-old prisoner Richardo Beltran-Gonzales are accused of stabbing to death another inmate. It was around 3:50 p.m. on Jan. 18 when 30-year-old Nathaniel Reynolds was heading to a general population area of the prison.
"[Both] stabbed and killed Nathaniel Reynolds at Hays State Prison in Trion," GBI Agent Joe Montgomery claims.
The GBI agent says some type of metal object was used in the attack.
Now Rodriques and Gonzales face indictments for malice murder, felony murder and aggravated assault, according to Chattooga County Grand Jury records.
This murder was just one of several that happened around that time. The rash of murders and outburst at the prison finally gained enough attention from state officials that they became interested in the prison's safety.
Correctional officers alerted the media that conditions at the prison were horrible. The locks on cell doors were so pathetic that prisoners came and went as they pleased.
The prison's lack of transparency was highlighted during this time as various media outlets and human rights activists tried gathering documents about the prison's condition. The prison system sent a $250,000 bill to the Atlanta-based Southern Center for Human Rights for records they requested. It was an attempt by prison officials to cover up what was really happening behind barbed wire.
Atlanta prison bureaucrats continue to fight against accountability and transparency. The News recently requested to tour and photograph the new locks at the prison. Officials denied The News' and other media from gaining access.
"This request has been denied as cameras are not allowed inside the facility," a spokeswoman for the department of corrections in Atlanta stated.
The News also asked to speak with top prison officials and was turned down repeatedly. Meanwhile those same officials claim improvements at the prison have improved safety and officers can easily control prisoners.
But many are not buying into that story, like the 15-plus correctional guards that quit recently. They got out of there before the convicts are taken out of lockdown and given more freedom to roam.
Some of them feared the violence would continue, not only against convicts, but also acts of aggression toward officers.