A Hixson man is clinging to life after he was beaten by another inmate Saturday night at the McMinn County Jail in Athens, Tenn.
Tim Cook, 48, of Hixson, was being processed in the booking area of the McMinn jail on a charge of driving while intoxicated around 6:15 p.m. on Saturday when he was allegedly attacked by 24-year-old Jerrod Jones, Sheriff Joe Guy said Thursday. The two men were in a holding cell in sight of several officers.
Jones, who was being held on shoplifting, theft and trespassing charges, had sat down in the cell after using the telephone when he suddenly attacked.
"It occurred quickly and without warning," Guy said, "and without being too graphic, I can just say that it was violent and vicious."
Guy said Jones kicked Cook in the head for about 20 seconds before correctional officers and a patrol officer could stop him.
Cook is now on life support and listed in critical condition at a hospital in Knoxville. Jones is charged with aggravated assault, Guy said.
"The officers found Mr. Cook nearly unresponsive on the floor," Guy said. "They immediately detained Mr. Jones and began life-saving efforts on Mr. Cook until the arrival of an ambulance."
Guy said an internal investigation is being conducted by his office but the case had been turned over to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation for prosecution.
TBI spokesman Josh DeVine said the agency was asked to head the probe by 10th Judicial District Attorney General Steve Crump.
Jones is now charged by the TBI with aggravated assault, a felony, and he remains in custody on an $18,000 bond.
Contact staff writer Ben Benton at email@example.com or 423-757-6569. Follow him on Twitter @BenBenton or at www.facebook.com/benbenton1.