July 18, 2014

Ex-inmate whose ear was bitten off settles case for $7,500

A former St. Clair County Jail inmate whose ear was bitten off by another inmate has received a $7,500 settlement from the county.

Roger W. Harris, 21, alleged in a federal lawsuit that guards at the jail should have done more to protect him from other inmates. On May 11, 2012, inmate Teryun D. Jackson bit off Harris' ear and another inmate, Marlon K. Jackson, flushed the ear down a toilet.

The county admits no wrongdoing in the settlement, which was approved June 25. The News-Democrat received a copy of the settlement through a request under the state's Freedom of Information Act.

At the time of the attack, Harris was awaiting trial for aggravated robbery. He was later convicted and sentenced August 2012 to seven years in prison.

On two separate occasions, Harris had told jail personnel he feared two other inmates in the jail and he believed his life was in danger, according to court documents. The two inmates Harris told guards he feared were not the same two inmates who attacked him May 11, 2012.

Marlon Jackson also had a history of violence with other inmates in the jail, according to court documents.

In a report from a guard about the incident, Harris told guards he was arguing with Jackson "about something that happened on the street when T. Jackson got mad and 'jumped' him."

Harris told guards he was getting the best of Teryun Jackson when Marlon Jackson held him down while Teryun Jackson bit his ear off, according to the report.

Teryun Jackson and Marlon Jackson were charged with aggravated battery and mob action related to the fight. Those charges later were dismissed.

Harris is serving his prison sentence at Graham Correctional Center in Hillsboro. He is eligible for parole in October.

Marlon Jackson, 25, is currently serving a 20-year prison sentence for second-degree murder at Menard Correctional Center in Menard.

Teryun Jackson, 24, was sentenced to four years in prison for aggravated discharge of a firearm. He is on parole.

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