Thursday, November 5, 2015
DA: Falls prisoner fatally injured Chalfont inmate who interrupted his nap
Posted: Thursday, October 22, 2015
A 37-year-old Falls man is facing homicide charges for allegedly fatally injuring another inmate at Bucks County prison earlier this month after the man interrupted his nap, authorities said.
Bucks County detectives allege that Christopher Williams, whose last address was Thornridge Drive, struck Donald Rush, 57, of Chalfont, in the face Oct. 11, then warned Rush and two other witnesses about reporting it to corrections officers, according to a probable cause affidavit.
Six hours later, Rush collapsed outside his cell in the “E” module at the Bucks County prison. He was rushed to Abington Memorial Hospital where he was put on life support. He was pronounced dead later that day, Oct. 12.
Rush had been incarcerated at the Doylestown Township jail since September after he pleaded guilty to felony drug delivery and related charges in Bucks County Court. He was sentenced to three to six months in prison and received credit for time served since his arrest in May.
An autopsy found that Rush suffered a brain injury as a result of a blow to the head that led to a brain bleed, according to the affidavit. The forensic pathologist noted a “padded blunt impact to the head” consistent with an open hand strike to the head, court documents allege.
Bucks County detectives and corrections investigators pieced together what allegedly happened in the hours before Rush collapsed by interviewing inmates and staff and reviewing video from the surveillance camera in the unit.
Authorities say Rush had entered a cell shortly before 7 p.m. to talk to another inmate. While they were speaking, Williams -- the man’s cellmate -- who had been sleeping, woke up and told Rush to leave because he was trying to sleep. A minute later Rush left the cell, authorities said.
Shortly after 7 p.m. Rush entered a neighboring cell to get a phone number from a different inmate, the affidavit alleges.
While Rush was inside that cell, Williams entered and started yelling at him for coming into his cell and waking him up, the affidavit alleges. Rush was seated on the lower bunk in the cell and Williams was standing in front of him when he struck Rush on the left side of his head, knocking off Rush’s glasses and causing his mouth to bleed, court documents said.
After striking Rush, Williams refused to let him leave the cell until he promised not to report the assault, authorities said. Rush eventually agreed not to report it.
After Rush left the cell, he returned to his cell and rinsed out his mouth with water and then went to the lower tier of the “E” module where he told the corrections officers he injured his mouth after accidentally hitting his face on his cell door, the affidavit alleges. He was then allowed to go to the prison dispensary for treatment, the affidavit said.
Court documents do not describe what type of treatment Rush received in the dispensary.
Following the assault, Williams also told the inmate who witnessed it, “You didn’t see anything,” the affidavit said. He also warned his cellmate not to say anything about the incident, warning him that it’s easy to find out where someone lives using the Internet, the affidavit said.
Shortly before 1 a.m. Rush was seen coming out of his cell. He appeared unsteady and disoriented and was attempting to pull up his prison jumpsuit when he collapsed. He was attended by prison medical staff before he was rushed to Abington Memorial Hospital.
Williams, who was incarcerated for a probation violation, was arraigned before District Judge Mark Douple on Thursday on homicide, aggravated and simple assault, witness intimidation, recklessly endangering another person charges. He was denied bail.
He pleaded guilty last year to receiving stolen property stemming from a 2013 arrest in Falls, according to court records.
Jo Ciavaglia: 215-949-4181; email: firstname.lastname@example.org; Twitter: @jociavaglia