Partner of inmate accused in guard attack at CJC claims jail conditions are abysmal

Published: Aug. 25, 2023 at 6:43 PM CDT
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ST. LOUIS (KMOV) -- The fiancee of a man now charged in a recent hostage situation at the St. Louis City Justice Center told only First Alert 4 his actions were a result of the severe mistreatment he endured while incarcerated there.

In all, six detainees have been charged. Charging documents say Newberry punched a Corrections Officer during food service and then took his keys and began unlocking other detainees’ cells.

Morgan Bankhead, Anthony Newberry’s fiancée, revealed that she had been reaching out to city authorities for months for what she claims are abysmal conditions her partner is subjected to in jail.

Bankhead said she sensed that something was amiss with Newberry just a week prior to the hostage incident. Newberry, accused of a murder in May 2021, has maintained his innocence. Amid turmoil involving the St. Louis Circuit Attorney’s Office, Newberry’s legal proceedings were repeatedly postponed, resulting in mounting frustration and uncertainty for him and his loved ones.

“And every time he got to court, it would just get continued and continued and continued,” said Bankhead.

Newberry’s altercation with another inmate, Bankhead said, led to his isolation in a cell commonly referred to as “the hole.” Bankhead, drawing from her own experience as a former corrections officer in the jail, emphasized that this form of punishment is intended for short-term disciplinary measures, not prolonged confinement. She claims Newberry has been deprived of visits, permitted only one phone call per month, and not allowed basic hygiene necessities.

“Anthony said he don’t even get a shower sometimes. And he begged them for a shower. And they won’t allow him to get showers,” said Bankhead.

Bankhead’s attempts to raise concerns with city officials left her feeling ignored.

The situation took a tragic turn when the hostage incident occurred, involving Newberry and several other detainees. Bankhead believes her fiance’s actions were the culmination of the mounting mistreatment he endured.

In response to Bankhead’s allegations, city authorities sent a statement saying:

“We cannot comment specifically on Anthony Newberry due to an ongoing criminal investigation. Detainees’ charges and behavior dictate their housing assignments.

Phone and video calls are consistently available to detainees - including Anthony Newberry - if they choose to take them. They are also provided hygiene packs.”