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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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