3 charged after Coffee County sheriff injured while breaking up fight

Coffee County jail

COFFEE COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) – Moving inmates from one jail to another can be dangerous business.

Coffee County knows that well after one inmate is charged with attempted first degree murder of the local sheriff and two others face multiple assault charges stemming from the same incident.

Sheriff Steve Graves was stabbed in the face with a pen Tuesday, a cut near his eye that required 15 stitches.

“The sheriff is home resting comfortably, and that’s where he needs to be,” Coffee County Sheriff’s Department Captain Frank Watkins told News 2 Wednesday. “We are now moving the inmates two by two in cars from the old jail to the new jail. I would not be surprised if he’s not back at work by the end of the week.”

Inmate Paul Fletcher, 22, is charged with criminal attempt to commit first degree murder in connection to the incident and is being held on $1 million bond.

Kevyn Glass, 28, and Maurice Walker, 20, also face multiple assault charges stemming from the attack.

And that’s not all.

The entire female inmate population of Coffee County could face charges of arson and inciting a riot after flames erupted at the old jail Tuesday night just hours after the sheriff was attacked.

It happened as 34 female inmates were being prepared for transfer to the new facility.

Captain Watkins said some lit their belongings and prison-issued clothing on fire in a holding area called the “birdcage.”

Deputies had to quickly and securely evacuate the inmates while fire crews extinguished the flames.

“I’ll charge every one of the 34 female inmates with arson and inciting a riot until they start talking,” Coffee County Sgt. Danny Ferrell said.

So far, they apparently haven’t.

All of the 267 female and male inmates in Coffee are being moved this week from the aging facility near downtown Manchester to a gleaming $20 million jail on the town’s outskirts east of Interstate 24.

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