Injured Bradley County inmate was in jailhouse fight, TBI says

The Bradley County Jail is in Cleveland, Tenn.

A Bradley County Jail inmate who was found unresponsive Thursday was in custody because he skipped court on felony charges that his three dogs severely mauled a woman in May, authorities said Friday.

Billy Joe Rogers, 39, remained in Erlanger hospital on Friday, according to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation. Erlanger spokeswoman Jennifer Homa said she had no information on Rogers.

TBI spokesman Josh DeVine said Rogers fought with another jail inmate Thursday afternoon. After Rogers was found unresponsive, jail staff performed CPR and Rogers was rushed to Erlanger. The other inmate's name has not been released.

Rogers was in jail on a charge of failure to appear in Criminal Court, said James Bradford, director of communication for the Bradley County Sheriff's Office.

The underlying charge against Rogers is three counts of "Dog at Large (Serious Bodily Injury)," Bradford said in an email. The charges relate to allegations he allowed his dogs to run loose and attack a woman on Carter Road in Bradley County.

According to the May 2015 story by WRCB-TV, the dogs knocked down Catherine Riddle, biting her all over her arms, legs and back as they tried to drag her into the woods as she kicked, screamed and fought to escape.

"The one had her by the arm and was dragging her while the others were biting her," her husband, Kenny Brigman, told WRCB at the time. "They were treating her like a rag doll, like a play toy."

Eventually her neighbors used a baseball bat to drive off the dogs, WRCB reporter. The TV station also said a dog owned by Rogers had bitten a teenager in the leg in November 2014.

DeVine said the TBI investigation into the jail incident is ongoing and that the agency will turn over the results to 10th Judicial District Attorney General Steve Crump for review.