Three Inmates Charged with Starting December Riot at RCDC

By Camaron Abundes   
NewsWest 9

PECOS- Two Months after more than 1,300 inmates started rioting at the Reeves County Detention Center, a Grand Jury indicted three inmates accused of starting the December 12th uprising.
"Well I am glad they did, it's about time they done something." Bonnie Shephard, who lives nearby the RCDC said. She is happy to learn the inmates who are allegedly responsible are facing criminal charges.

Alex Javier Morales-Romero, Jesus Lugo-Brown, and Carlos Alberto Morales-Rojas are all charged with Mutiny & Riot, and Assault. The FBI gathered evidence following the 2008 riot before filing the charges. An Affidavit outlines the events leading up to the riot.

Morales-Rojas, and Morales-Romero are accused of breaking glass and becoming irate after an inmate in a nearby cell died of natural causes. The men are accused of yelling to other inmates to assist in the uprising. Morales-Romero is accused of ripping off the sink in his cell and punching a guard through the hatch of his cell door.

Morales-Rojas is accused of spitting on a staff member trying to put out a fire the men started inside the cell.

Eventually the riot would spread to the entire facility. More than a thousand inmates gathered on the prison yard, throwing rocks at staff and using other makeshift weapons to continue the rebellion. The inmates took two hostages and made demands to negotiators via contraband cell phones.

"Why should we pay for them just to burn it down, this is the third one they've had out there, it's ridiculous." Shephard said while taking a break from building a car port on her property.        
Other neighbors, with relatives working inside the prison told NewsWest 9, staffing shortages are a concern at the RCDC, but did not want to speak on camera or give their names.

"Those people put their lives at risk everyday walking in that place, and they shouldn't have to put up with stuff like that." Shephard said. She also wants something done to protect the prison staff.

The Affidavit says early estimates place the cost of the riot at more than $1 million dollars.

"I've seen county trucks running up and down up there all day. So I am sure they're having to clean it up and who is paying that salary? We are." Shephard said.

On Monday, County Commissioners approved a payment of $300,000 dollars to cover up front repair expenses until the Prison's insurance policy can reimburse the repair costs.