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3 teens charged in jailhouse inmate attack | News

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3 teens charged in jailhouse inmate attack
News

Bartow, Florida - Three teenage inmates attacked a fourth at the Polk County jail Friday and face enhanced "hate crime" charges in addition to attempted felony murder, the sheriff's office said tonight.

The three are identified as Trevon Leondra Hendrix, 16 , of Haines City, Devin Terrel Watlington and Michael James Hector Jr., both 17 and of Lakeland. They are adult-charged juveniles with a history of multiple arrests in the county.

The victim of the attack is Travis Eugene Winemiller, 16, of Bartow, who also has a large arrest record.

The sheriff's office says the incident, according to Winemiller, began last Friday when Hector demanded Winemiller fight him. "Are you kidding me?" Winemiller responded. Hector then punched him and began fighting.

"Watlington then came up behind Winemiller and held him while Hector hit him in the head several times. The two then slammed Winemiller onto the floor and Hendrix wrapped a pillowcase around Winemiller's neck and strangled him until he was unconscious, according to the statement made by Winemiller," the sheriff's office said.

Winemiller said the three men hogtied him on the floor with a sheet wrapped around his hands, arms and neck and threatened to kill him if he told deputies. He said he was punched several times and whipped with wet towels.

Winemiller alleges that one of the suspects said, "this is how you slave a real cracker" after he was tied up with a sheet around his neck and a section run through the a bar on the window.

He further stated that one of the suspects said "well it was your ancestral background that did it, so now we're going to show you how it [explicative] feels." These alleged statements are the reason why the charges against the suspects were enhanced/increased from a first degree felony to a life felony, the sheriff's office said.

A detention deputy making rounds looked into the cell and saw Hendrix strike Winemiller with an elbow, and removed Winemiller from the cell.

Winemiller was taken to a nurse to be treated, and initially told deputies "nothing happened." He later opened up to investigators.

"Based upon the statements made by Winemiller and the corroborating injuries, Hector, Watlington, and Hendrix were charged with Attempted Felony Murder," the sheriff's office said.

Hate Crime enhancement was brought because of "racially-based prejudiced statements made by the suspects," the sheriff's office said.

The sheriff's office also released the criminal arrest backgrounds of the suspects:

Trevon Leondra Hendrix: (currently held on 2 robbery charges)
09/17/2009 - Polk County Sheriff's Office, Robbery (3 counts)
02/02/2010 - Lakeland Police Department, Possession of Marijuana
05/21/2010 - Haines City Police Department, Robbery
06/08/2011 - Lakeland Police Department, Robbery
06/29/2011 - Polk County Sheriff's Office, Robbery
07/28/2011 - Winter Haven Police Department, Battery
10/11/2011 - Haines City Police Department, Robbery
11/02/2011 - Polk County Sheriff's Office, Robbery

Devin Terrel Watlington: (currently held on two probation violation charges for previous felonies)
04/14/2006 - Polk County Sheriff's Office, Burglary, Petit Theft
05/21/2007 - Polk County Sheriff's Office, Burglary, Grand Theft (2 counts), Grand theft of fire, extinguisher, Criminal Mischief
11/13/2007 - Lakeland Police Department, Battery, Probation Violation
12/31/2007 - Lakeland Police Department, Burglary, Resisting Officer with Violence
12/16/2008 - Lakeland Police Department, Battery
03/21/2009 - Lakeland Police Department, Resisting Officer without Violence
04/27/2009 - Polk County Sheriff's Office, Probation Violation
08/03/2010 - Lakeland Police Department, Trespassing
07/14/2011 - Lakeland Police Department, Burglary, Grand Theft
08/02/2011 - Polk County Sheriff's Office, Burglary, Grand Theft
08/27/2011 - Polk County Sheriff's Office, Criminal Registration
01/07/2012 - Polk County Sheriff's Office, Probation Violation

Michael James Hector, Jr.: (currently held on Robbery with a firearm)
03/05/2008 - Polk County Sheriff's Office, Trespassing on School Grounds
05/28/2008 - Lakeland Police Department, Resisting Officer without Violence
05/10/2010 - Lakeland Police Department, Burglary
08/15/2010 - Lakeland Police Department, Resisting Officer without Violence
02/17/2011 - Lakeland Police Department, Burglary, Probation Violation
06/22/2011 - Lakeland Police Department, Aggravated Stalking
10/04/2011 - Polk County Sheriff's Office, Robbery with weapon (Firearm)

The victim, Travis Eugene Winemiller, is currently being held on the following charges: Under 18 YOS Unlawful Possession of a Firearm, Burglary, Burglary, Burglary, Trespassing, Grand Theft of a Firearm, Burglary, and Petit Theft. His criminal arrest background is:

03/27/2007 - Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office, Burglary, Grand theft
03/28/2007 - Plant City Police Department, Grand Theft
08/13/2010 - Polk County Sheriff's Office, Burglary, Grand Theft
09/30/2010 - Bartow Police Department, Resisting Officer without Violence
03/01/2011 - Polk County Sheriff's Office, Burglary, Grand Theft of a Firearm
02/03/2012 - Polk County Sheriff's Office, Burglary, Burglary, Grand Theft, Trespassing, Weapon Offense - Under 18 YOS unlawful Possess of Firearm, Burglary, Petit Theft, Probation Violation
02/08/2012 - Polk County Sheriff's Office, Burglary, Grand Theft
02/23/2012 - Polk County sheriff's Office, Under 18 YOS Unlawful Possession of a Firearm, Burglary, Burglary, Burglary, Trespassing, Grand Theft of a Firearm
02/24/2012 - Polk County Sheriff's Office, Burglary, Petit Theft

 

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