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HomeNewsTeen Sentenced to 15 Years for Shank Fight in Richmond County Jail

Teen Sentenced to 15 Years for Shank Fight in Richmond County Jail


A local teen who ganged up on a murder suspect in a bloody shank fight in the Richmond County Jail a few months ago was convicted by a jury Tuesday.

Jahden Lewis, 19, of North Augusta, joined two others in attacking inmate Berques Owens in April. During a two-day trial, Assistant District Attorney Stetson Cromer told the jury that we live in civilized society and should act like it.

“Everyone deserves to feel safe at all times in our community; even in our jail,” Cromer told the jury.

The jury agreed. After the guilty verdict, Judge Ashley Wright sentenced Lewis to 15 years in prison followed by five years on probation.

“I thank the jury for taking this matter seriously, and sending a message to everyone in the jail that violence will not be tolerated,” said District Attorney Jared T. Williams after the verdict.

Cromer manages a caseload of over 220 cases, but set aside everything this week to reinforce the District Attorney’s zero tolerance policy on jail violence. “If you act up in the jail, expect more prison time,” Williams said in a press release.

Stabbings and the use of shanks at the Charles B. Webster Detention Center have been out of control over the last few years. In a radio interview, RCSO Chief Deputy Pat Clayton said inmates are getting shanks from the decaying jail.

“The jail is just coming apart. They will take parts of the jail, and they will just make shanks. Those are not being brought in,” Chief Clayton said. “Some of the stuff, they get out of their cell.”

The agency’s Crime Suppression Team is in the jail at least once or twice a week doing searches and shakedowns, he said.

Ironically, Lewis was injured himself in the jail fight when the victim took out his own shank and fought back. He received numerous stab wounds in the attack. Owens, 32, has been awaiting trial for over six years for the 2017 murder of his brother.

For his part, Lewis is a criminal nuisance who has been charged with rape in Aiken County and was charged by Columbia County last month with armed robbery while out on bond in Richmond County for charges of aggravated assault, armed robbery and weapon possession.

In this week’s trial, ADA Cromer was assisted by his co-counsel ADA Bailey Marshall, DA Investigator Tom Brown, Victim Advocate Darsha West, and Legal Assistant Francina Jenkins.

Two other defendants in the jail stabbing of Owens have not gone to trial.

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Greg Rickabaugh
Greg Rickabaugh
Greg Rickabaugh is an award-winning crime reporter in the Augusta-Aiken area with experience writing for The Augusta Chronicle, The Augusta Press and serving as publisher of The Jail Report. Rickabaugh is a 1994 graduate of the University of South Carolina and has appeared on several crime documentaries on the Investigation Discovery channel.
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