Two men are charged with inciting a group of fellow Benton County jail inmates to confront a corrections officer because he reportedly called them little kids and shut down the showers early.
Richard A. Counts III, 31, and Raul J. Saenz, 34, missed their scheduled appearances Wednesday in Benton County Superior Court on one count each of prison riot, a felony.
A no-bail warrant was issued for both of them.
An online inmate database shows Counts is locked up at Coyote Ridge Corrections Center in Connell, while Saenz is at the Olympic Corrections Center near Forks on the Olympic Peninsula.
A third inmate and the alleged instigator, Jared R. Marcum, has not been charged for the Dec. 19 incident because he is in federal custody awaiting trial on drug and gun charges in U.S. District Court.
Court documents show that Marcum was a contract inmate in the jail when he, Counts, Saenz and several others gathered in a group to confront Corrections Officer Conrad Stough about his rules relating to the showers.
Angered by a comment Stough had made that the inmates were acting like children, the group approached the corrections officer and ignored his repeated instructions to go to their bunks, documents said.
Stough was on the phone calling for assistance when Marcum allegedly got closer to the officer and began to “posture up.” Saenz was directly behind Marcum, and moving along with him.
Stough at one point placed his hand up towards Marcum and gave him a directive to stop moving toward him, court documents said. Marcum then slapped the officer’s hand away, saying “Don’t you ever point your finger at me (expletive).”
Other corrections officers arrived at the pod to find Stough surrounded by eight to 11 inmates, including Marcum, Saenz and Counts.
“Dispersing and controlling the group was initially difficult because the inmates were following Marcum’s commands, rather than the commands of jail staff,” court documents said.
Officers tried to separate Marcum from the group to speak with him outside of the pod, but Counts and Saenz allegedly made statements that if Marcum goes, they all go.
Eventually, Marcum agreed to talk to a supervisor alone, and “order was restored,” documents said.
Counts later told a corrections officer that the brief uprising was over the showers issue and being called “little girls or kids.”