When he regained consciousness on the bathroom floor, Alfred Days felt men punching him, kicking him, stomping on him.
But he couldn't see anything in Hays State Prison in Trion, Ga. Someone had pulled his sweater over his face, blinding him, only increasing his ability to hear.
"Snitches get stitches!" someone yelled, according to Days.
Then he heard the snap of wood breaking. A broomstick. The men grabbed his legs, he said. They pulled down his pants.
That was in December. Seven months later, on July 15, an attorney filed an amended complaint in U.S. District Court, taking over the civil case that Days started himself in April. Days is suing Hays State Warden Scott Crickmar, Deputy Warden Alisa Hammock and a member of the medical department whom he has referred to only as "Dr. Hill."
Days' suit claimed prison administrators violated his constitutional right against cruel and unusual punishment by failing to protect him. He said in the suit he had feared for more than a month that gang members would attack him, but the administrators ignored him, putting Days in the general population.
He also said a Hays State doctor refused to treat him when she found out that Days asked to see a Department of Corrections investigator who is trained to look into prison rape allegations. After the investigator examined Days and the crime scene, Days said the prison doctor treated him only with a couple of aspirin.
"It's just a damnable outrage," said McNeill Stokes, Days' Atlanta-based attorney, who is demanding that the state pay his client. "They exposed him to extreme danger."
Stokes said Days still has not said who attacked him that day. He also doesn't know the attackers' gang affiliation.
Lawyers for the Georgia Department of Corrections have not responded to Stokes' complaint. A spokeswoman for the DOC also declined to comment to the Times Free Press, saying the department does not discuss pending civil cases.
Days is serving a 10-year sentence after pleading guilty in 2008 to aggravated assault, armed robbery and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. Since the alleged attack in December, Days has been moved to the Washington State Prison in Davisboro, Ga.
According to Stokes' lawsuit, trouble for Days at Hays State began in November. He was assigned to work in landscaping at a location 45 minutes away from the prison. Some gang members, knowing he would be coming in and out often, asked him to smuggle contraband into the prison, Days said.
When he refused, they threatened him, he said. He asked Crickmar to put him in protective custody. At first, the warden obliged. But soon after, he said, a lieutenant told him Crickmar would only keep him in protective custody if he told who was threatening him.
Days declined to give up any names, and he signed a form saying he didn't fear for his life before he rejoined the general population.
Stokes says now that Days only kept mum and signed because he thought that would be safer than coughing up the names of those threatening him.
Days said he also tried to contact another administrator.
"I've sent statement forms to Deputy Warden Hammock about death threats on my life," he wrote in a court filing. "She never answer [sic] my letters."
Other inmates and their families have claimed that corrections officials from low-level guards to the commissioner's office were indifferent to violence at Hays State Prison.
In November, a mother won a lawsuit she filed after her son was beaten and strangled to death in 2012. Damion McClain was among four inmates who were killed in a seven-week span, according to newspaper archives.
Inmates, families and court documents described how the violence escalated at Hays, where gang leaders had taken charge of prison dorm rooms and where some prison officials had warned inmates of upcoming shakedowns for weapons and ignored audits that documented broken cell door locks.
Eventually the Department of Corrections ousted the warden and funneled millions of dollars to fix broken cell doors and harden cells.
Contact staff writer Tyler Jett at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 423-757-6476.