Jail Inmate’s Mental State Questioned After Three Attacks On Guards
Two trials facing a Benton County jail inmate have been postponed, and a psych evaluation awaits him after the man assaulted Benton County jail guards for a third time.
26-year-old Erick J. Nieto was to be tried for March and April assaults on officers. Nieto was set to go on trial, but last weekend the man allegedly attacked guards and had to be tasered after head butting one of them.
Nieto has a criminal backround that includes felony driving convictions in 2014 for going 70 mph in a 25 mph zone and eluding police following a hit-and-run accident. He was also involved in a stabbing incident that left a cousin of his dead. Nieto was himself stabbed in that 2013 event.
In March, he allegedly assaulted a guard over a delay in passing a sack lunch to him through his jail door. Officers would only approach him in pairs due to his history of violence. Then in April, when he was told to put his jail uniform shirt back on, he assaulted more guards and had to be taken down.
After the most recent incident, according to the Tri-City Herald, county officials have arranged for a psych evaluation to determine his competency to stand trial, and to see if he is suffering from a mental illness. His defense attorney himself requested the evaluation.