Washington County Jail homicide: Inmate gets life in prison for attack

George Telford Jr. has been sentenced to life in prison – without the possibility of release. He was convicted in the killing of a fellow inmate at the Washington County Jail in August.

Telford, from North Dakota, was convicted of first-degree intentional homicide after officials said he killed another inmate in a "vicious, unprovoked attack."

According to the Washington County Sheriff's Office, the victim – a 23-year-old Washington County man – succumbed to his injuries over the weekend that followed the Aug. 17 attack. Court records state the victim was kicked in the head 28 times.

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Officials said Telford had been at the jail since July 4. He had been arrested for a domestic incident and was unable to post bail, also wanted for a North Dakota domestic abuse incident. 

"The suspect was here since July 4 with very, very little, no major discipline history whatsoever," said Washington County Sheriff Martin Schulteis.

The victim, officials said, was at the Washington County Jail for two days on a probation hold through the Wisconsin Department of Corrections.

On Aug. 17, court documents indicate Telford paced back and forth before entering another inmate's cell and striking him 31 times; kicking him in the head 28 times. 

"This was, for all intents and purposes, an unprovoked attack," said Schulteis. "It was not a jail fight. It was an attack on a fellow human being." 

Telford and the victim were being housed in the same "medium security" cellblock with five other inmates at the time of the attack, the sheriff's office said. None of the other inmates were involved or intervened in the attack.

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Washington County corrections officers and medical staff responded to the cellblock after a corrections officer saw the assault taking place, according to the sheriff's office. The officer immediately activated the emergency response protocol, which includes verbal instructions for all inmates in the cellblock to return to their cells and a subsequent lockdown, as well as the response of on-site medical personnel and additional correctional officers to the area.

The victim was transported to the hospital with significant head injuries, the sheriff's office said. West Bend paramedics were requested from the onset based on the nature of the injuries. 

Telford had also been charged with battery by a prisoner; that charge was dismissed but read in at sentencing. 

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