Inmate charged with felony after busting sprinkler head at jail


The “busting” of a sprinkler head in an Independence County jail cell is being prosecuted as a felony.

Inmate Lee Robert Payton (pictured), 23, of Batesville, is accused of causing the damage. Jail personnel at the Independence Count Detention Facility and a deputy called to the scene found running water on the majority of the main facility floor and also on the stairwell, authorities report.

Jail administrators said the Batesville Fire Department was able to shut the water flow off to the sprinkler head and replace it.

The sheriff’s department said when a sprinkler head is damaged, a deputy is taken off the streets, and the Batesville Fire Department has to utilize a minimum of two pumper trucks and two members of the department to shut off the water to the facility, and then to “bleed” the system before the sprinkler head can be replaced.

Sheriff Shawn Stephens said several days ago that inmate behavior such as this cannot be tolerated at the Independence County Detention Center, and it is costly in many ways. Therefore, the sheriff’s department and prosecutors are charging Payton with impairing the operation of a vital public facility, a Class C felony. If found guilty, Payton would be subject to a minimum of three to a maximum of 10 years in prison, and a fine not exceeding $10,000 or a combination of both a fine and prison time.

A bond was set on Payton of $5,000.

Image via Independence County Sheriff’s Department

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  1. Ok, so he get’s some other POS like him to post his bond. His actual cost of that bond will be $500 no more. Then he’ll fail to show up for the hearing regarding the sprinkler head. For each day he misses his court date, they should add an additional year to the sentence. There shouldn’t be any bond. Have him face the judge first thing in the morning. And I’m sure with the liberal yellow spined judges we have, he’ll get a warning not to do it again and walk out.

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