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Published: Wednesday, 10/29/2003

Inmate indicted on multiple charges in gun incident

A Toledo man charged with three murders has been indicted for firing a handgun at a corrections officer in the Lucas County jail.

Prentiss Williams, 24, was indicted yesterday by a county grand jury on two counts of felonious assault and one count each of escape and possession of a deadly weapon while under detention. The charges carry specifications that a gun was used in the crimes.

Williams is accused of firing a 9mm handgun that had been smuggled onto the jail's sixth floor, the facility's maximum-security unit. The gun was pulled on the officer Oct. 14 while Williams was at a maintenance closet.

After struggling with the officer, Williams is accused of firing the gun twice, and he was subdued after the officer persuaded him to drop the gun.

Sheriff's detectives believe that Marion Paul Crosby, a former jail counselor, brought packages, usually food items, into the jail for Williams, and possibly one of the deliveries contained the gun.

Mr. Crosby, 39, of 1922 Loxley Rd., was arraigned yesterday in Toledo Municipal Court. He is charged with three counts of bribery. He was released from the jail after posting a $15,000 property bond.

Detectives said Mr. Crosby admitted that he received at least $50 on three occasions from a friend of Williams and Williams' wife. Although detectives said the packages contained a cell phone and cigarettes, Mr. Crosby said he didn't know what was in them.

Mr. Crosby resigned from his job on Oct. 15 after he was interviewed by detectives.

Detective Rob Sarahman said most of the transactions were made outside the jail. “We are not going to tolerate weapons in the jail. Fortunately, no one was hurt and no one was killed,” Detective Sarahman said.

Williams, of the 2800 block of Albion Street, is scheduled to go on trial Nov. 17 in Common Pleas Court for the May, 1994, shooting death of Robert Hendricks. Williams was 15 years old when the murder occurred.

Williams could be sentenced to death if convicted in the shooting deaths in May, 2002, of Carmita Dickey and Jonathon Booker. A trial in those cases has not been scheduled.

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