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Two Monroe County jail inmates charged with escaping cell, beating fellow inmate

DeJuan Lamar Kelley and Ian Thorpe were already in the jail awaiting trial for serious violent crimes.

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — Two inmates at the Monroe County Jail are facing additional charges for allegedly escaping from their cell in May and beating another inmate to the point he had to be sent to the hospital.

DeJuan Lamar Kelley, 24, and Ian Thorpe, 27, both face a charge of battery resulting in serious bodily injury, a level 5 felony, for the incident that prosecutors say happened on May 19.

DeJuan Lamar Kelley
Ian Thorpe

According to court documents, the victim was being held in the cell next to Kelley and Thorpe and told investigators he exited his cell for his scheduled hour out and remembers being “chased down the stairs to the lower block” by Kelley and Thorpe.

The victim reportedly remembered trying to run to the call button to alert corrections officers but only remembered waking up on the cell block floor.

Court documents say the victim reported that at 2 a.m. that same morning, Kelley and Thorpe were being loud when he was trying to sleep.

The victim said he asked the two neighboring inmates to be quiet and mentioned he thought the two had a “bromance,” but denied having any other confrontations with the Kelley and Thorpe.

Investigators say Kelley and Thorpe are seen in surveillance video heading back into their cell that morning after their scheduled hour out and closing the cell door behind them.

According to a report by a corrections officer, the door was showing as “unsecure,” and the officer used the PA speaker to tell them to rattle the door, which reportedly helps fix the door sensor issue.

Court documents say it is not uncommon for the cell door locks in the jail to be faulty and show as “unsecure” to the corrections officers when it is actually locked. Police also said it is common that the doors show as “locked” when they actually aren’t.

Later, the victim was let out for his scheduled hour out.

Just minutes later, Kelley and Thorpe are reportedly seen using a hardback book cover slide to pick at the door jam before running out of the cell and chasing the victim down the stairs.

Court documents say Kelley is seen punching the right side of the victim’s face from behind. Thorpe is also seen in the footage reportedly punching the man while he laid unconscious on the cell block floor. Kelley reportedly gave a final punch before officers entered the cell block and arrested the two men.

The victim was taken to the hospital for swelling to his face and blood coming from his ears, police say. Kelley and Thorpe were taken into questioning, but didn’t answer questions while asking for an attorney.

When Thorpe left his interview, he reportedly told investigators that “there were two words that were unacceptable to him: “the bitch word and the n word.”

Kelley and Thorpe had their initial hearings in court Friday where they both entered a not-guilty plea. Both men were already in jail awaiting trials for other violent criminal charges.

DeJuan Lamar Kelley has been in the jail since August 2020 after police tracked down and arrested him in Kansas City, Missouri.

He is charged with murder, attempted murder, and carrying a handgun without a license for the June 7, 2020 shooting that killed 39-year-old Michael Parker.

His original trial began Feb. 5, but ended the same day after the judge declared a mistrial. It has since been rescheduled to Aug. 19.

Kelley will be back in court Aug. 8

Ian Thorpe has been locked up in Monroe County since July 2021 on an attempted murder charge tied to a July 2021 stabbing in Bloomington.

Officers responded to the Wingate by Wyndham hotel just after 1 a.m. July 29, 2021 after a woman ran through the hotel asking for help with a man covered in blood.

Police found the man in a room on the second floor with stab wounds to his arm and chest. He was taken to the hospital for his injuries.

Investigators say Thorpe and the man got into a fight in the hotel parking lot when Thorpe reportedly pulled out a knife and stabbed the other man.

The woman named Thorpe as the suspect and police say during the investigation, a car drove into the parking lot and attempted to drive through the crime scene.

Thorpe was reportedly in the backseat and was arrested. Police reported recovering the knife used in the attack and clothes investigators believe Thorpe was wearing during the stabbing.

Thorpe has yet to go to trial and will be back in court July 11.

The jail beating comes after a long list of issues surrounding the Monroe County Jail.

Last month, a jail feasibility study was presented to the Monroe County Commissioners which recommended Monroe County build a new jail rather than renovate the current jail facility.

The report found that for 11 out the last 11 years, the average daily inmate population was over the 206 bed threshold. Additionally, the average length of stay for each inmate has gone up by 20-percent since 2015.

That means that inmates are staying in the jail longer, limiting the number of available beds for day-to-day use.

In September, a gas leak at the Monroe County Jail caused staff to initiate the start of the facility’s evacuation plan putting the inmate population on lockdown.

The Bloomington Fire Department and crews with CenterPoint Energy were able to fix the gas line after about three hours.