tv Lockup MSNBC December 8, 2012 7:00pm-8:00pm PST
but getting to the bottom of this fight requires some digging. >> you both lay in the corner. you're going to stand there and lie to me some more? a popular restaurant owner accused of capital murder fights for his freedom. >> narrator: a satanist runs a variety of inmate hustles to fund a bodybuilder's appetite. >> i've gained 44 pounds since i've been here. >> narrator: and a member of the a arian brotherhood dishes out his own justice. i said hey, punk, get up. i've got some bad news for you.
>> narrator: though san antonio texas might be remembered for the alamo, today, it's one of the fastest-growing cities in america. but increased growth also brings increased problems. >> for the long esz period, san antonio was known as a large city with a small-town mentality. san antonio is the 7th largest growing city in the country. >> narrator: no more apparent than just outside downtown in the solid brick fortress that is the bear county jalt. it's where anyone charged with criminal acts in san antonio will surely spend some time.
>> my father always said nobody comes to jail for being nice. one thing we have to remember is people coming to jail have not been found guilty yet. >> most of the 3500 men and women housed in bear county have only been charged with crimes under awaiting trial of the resolution of their cases. others have been convicted and are serving short sentences or are awaiting trial in prison. he is kurntsly awaiting charges of assault and vehicle theft, to which he's pled not guilty. >> i've been cut with razors, all around here. i mean, i got cut with a knife when this dude put six razors in
a toothbrush. >> somebody tried to stab me in the chest and thehearted. it's been rough. i've been in two fights since i've been in this jail. >> narrator: one of those fights occurred after another inmate made fun of allen's personal style. >> i'm the one that's got this horseshoe mustache in there and this guy is telling me hulk hogan and whatnot. i said i'm going to smash on you. i knocked him out the first punch. but i didn't stop them, i had to hold him down. and then the search came in with a tazer gun. >> the jail's special emergency response team, or sert, was called in to break up the fight. afterwards, allen was given ten
days in segregation. locked down 23 hours a day with no privileges. but it's something he's grown used to. >> you do so many years in the penn, ain't nothing bothers you. >> narrator: allen's willingness to fight over his mustache is one of a seemingly endless supply of reasons others resort to violence. another fight is just broken up between three inmates in one of the general population housing units. >> the sert subdues the fighters and starts the investigation. the aggressors appear to be guadalupe. neither man shows any sign of injury. victor sanchez will require medical attention.
>> his obvious injuries are a black eye and a cut on the back of his head. sergeant tucker now takes over from sert in finding out what happened. >> i saw you swinging at him. you both had him cornered. you want to stand there and lie to me some more? >> right, there was a lock down for nothing. what did you hit him with? >> my hand. >> who had the thing that cut the back of his head open? >>. >> oh, i don't know about that.
>> right. >> as tucker interrogates, sanchez undergoes his medical evaluation where an entirely new injury is discovered. >> who threw the water on him 1234. >> i don't know about that. >> who threw the water on him? >> sir, with all-due respect, none of those injuries -- >> that wasn't fresh. who threw the water on him? >> that wasn't me. >> while hernandez and lomez acknowledge fighting with
sanchez, they insist some of the other injuries were from a fight two days earlier. so sergeant tucker calls the officer who was on duty at the time and the story seems to check out. >> because officers did not witness the fight and sanchez made no mention of it or discussed his injuries with staff, no disciplinary report was filed. but several inmates said that sanchez was, in fact, in an earlier fight lending credence to lomez. all three inmates will be locked in single-man segregation cells for a cooling off period of at least 24 hours. >> place your hands on the top
bunk. lrksz orksz lomez, who is serving a one-year sentence for burglarizing a vehicle says sanchez started this latest fight. >> he came out, came to my cell and then came back to his cell and wanted me to come inside. >> i take off my shirt, open the cell door and he comes out swinging. i did what i had to do. >> well, he turned around and threw water on me. and we started fighting. sanchez is accused of car theft to which he plans to plead not guilty. a life-long stutter. he says the fight resulted from a dispute with lomez.
>> he was trying to fight with the stupid, game. >> oh, that's old news. i mean, maybe he needed money that day for whatever reason, maybe. that's fine. but the next time i see you, be man enough and say you know what, bro, i didn't mean it. here, i'll buy you a six pack. >> hernandez maintains he has no idea what the other two were fighting ablt. but when he got too close to the action, he had no choice but to join in. >> you know the way it's in here. it's just instinct. >> the other gentleman, i have no idea. i don't know if he got hit and started swinging back. but god is my witness, may he
strike me back, i would deserve it if i threw hot water on that gentleman. no way. >> do you want to file charges? >> coming up, victor sanchez decides whether to raise the stakes and file criminal charges against his two attackers. >> he's been very successful. everyone in the neighborhood knew me and loved me. >> staff members are shocked to see a popular figure in jailhouse scrubs. [ female announcer ] if you care for someone with mild to moderate alzheimer's,
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single county or city. so it's not unusual for anyone here to come across a familiar face. but when ufrs officer moore first noticed thomas, he was more than a little surprised. >> at first, i saw the guy and i was like, is that him? i said nah, that's not him. >> no, that's not him. >> three years earlier, he was making a name for himself in san antonio. due to the popularity of his barbecue restaurant and caterering service. >> he kind of had a barbecue and i thought i would check it out. the food was delicious. his brisket, whatever you name, he did it. >> narrator: officer moore's brother who is also a deputy at the jail was a fan, as well. >> he came to my home and caterered my kid's party. came over, you know, he barbecued it. everything was wonderful. it was beautiful.
like i say, he was a pillar in the community. >> everyone knew me and loved me. and i always showed up to the neighborhood. >> i believe that god allowed me to come here. i am definitely an innocent man. and just sad to say a tragedy happen. and it cost me to lose everything. >> narrator: fames is in jail on capital murder and concealing a human corpse. prosecutors say he was part of a drug deal gone bad. while fames has pled not guilty, his codefendant recently confessed to a double murder in the case and was sentenced to two consecutive life terms. >> that was someone you could trust. >> fames would not elaborate on the details of his case. but he says he is confident he
will be acquitted. and the three and a half years he's served will serve a purpose. >> it's not what man says, what our people say and what our friends say. we've got to build our life on what god says. god is worthy. the truth. >> god allowed me to provide this word in this prison: i have enough faith right now to know that god has everything ready for me. >> narrator: fames leads bible study and is regarded as a jailhouse pastor. but in another unit, michael lesher pleejs allegiance to a different entity. >> you have lucifer and satan. in death i found life and hell is my paradise. this is my paradise.
his life is illuminated by all of his tattoos. >> it's better than some of the scratches i've seen on some inmates. but it's really not all that extravagant. it's definitely not street-quality work. it was all single needle. >> i was 24 when i got the tattoo on my head. the horns, itself, it's just me being an outlaw. somebody that's a little devil himts. >> at the time that i got that tattoo, i had a real strict belief in being antichristian. i believe if there's a god looking down at me, he's got something looking right back up at him. my original belief is satanism, as in the original terms of the word. it just means a representation and acceptance of negative energy being there to let us know what positive energy is. you can't have one without the other: it's a balance.
>> but in lesher's case, his negative energy seems to have far eclipsed his positive. >> i've been in prison my whole life. i did 10 years in the feds, you know. and now, i mean, my charges, i don't want to go into detail, but my charge now is two organized crime cases, three counts of burglar with force. his repeat offender status could bring a lengthy sentence if he's convicted. >> i'm a violent criminal facing violent charges. a three-time loser. >> narrator: coming up, michael lesher and thomas fames, both receive pornt news. >> i don't care if they put me in lockdown or what, i'm going to smash him. by earning a degree from capella university,
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. >> narrator: when new inmates arrive at san antonio's bear jail, officials ask them about any known enemies they might already have here. they then place those inmates in separate housing units. but inmates rarely disclose every conflict they have on the streets such as the dispute that led to the recent fight between two inmates. sanchez initially claims that he sustained a black eye, burns to his chest and a kuts on his head in a fight. both of whom admitted to the fight but denied the injuries. >> is he the one that threw the water on you? >> no, no. >> who threw the walter on you? >> i don't know about that. >> narrator: after sergeant tucker investigated a rumor that sanchez had fought with two
other inmates days earlier, sanchez admitted that the black eye came from that fight, as did the cut on the back of his head, which was reopened in the fight with lomez and hernandez. but he still insists they were the ones that burned him with hot water. >> sanchez, duo you want to fil charges? >> should i? >> it's up to you. i will tell you that if you don't file charges, the county is going to file them anyway. that's serious bodily injury. >> yeah, i'll presh charges. >> on all four of them? >> what four? the two from two days ago? we really can't do anything about that right now. the only thing we can work on right now is this case right here. >> yeah, i want to press charges. >> okay. that's all i need to know. >> that's what they get. they assaulted me. i got assaulted. so they're going to see what they can do. what it will come to now.
>> as a member of the arian brotherhood gang, todd al rn has seen his share of vie lensz behind bars, as well. >> that's what we was trained here for. whatever we've got to do. we need to pull. wh grab whatever you can grab and hit somebody over the head with it. i found out there was a child molester in here. man, you don't do that. >> those that have charges against children, they tend to become pray. some tend to make it out of population. they find out that their lives are being threatened and everything like that. we have to separate them. >> laws can only protect a person for so long. you can get to them and kill a person right here in this jailhouse, if you know what you're doing. >> believe it or not, we have
individuals here in the facility who, themselves, do not like those type of crimes and they will try to secret ro bugs and get revenge. >> and even though attacking the alleged sex offender in his housing unit could result in additional criminal charges, allen says he's up for the job and intends to follow through. >> i don't care if they put me on lockdown or what, i'm going to smash him. you don't do that to kids, man. that could have been my daughter. that could have been your daughter. you don't hold one down and force yourself on nobody, man. a kid is a kid. that's a gift from god. >> thomas fames has been banking on a different gift from god. fames has been charged with murder and concealing a corpse in what has been called a drug deal gone back. >> this is what i wrote a long time ago. love god and be careful what you wish for, i'm going home.
>> i wrote that when i first got here. >> we have a total of 80 inmates that get read scriptures every day. >> every day, he takes it upon himself and he puts a little piece of paper and has three bottle verses. it's nice that his spirit moves him to do that. to take it upon himself to try to win another soul. >> fame's popularity is not unlike what he enjoyed on the outside as the owner of a barbecue restaurant and caterering service. >> had an opportunity to get a partnership with a gentleman and we started building the business together. so god blessed me with this young man and he baulgt a trailer.
so not only one trailer, we had two trailers and we had two locations. officer moore hired fames to caterer parties at his home and took note to businesses growth. >> i asked him how did you get this money? he said there's a rich benefactor who believes in me. okay, cool. do your thing. >> narrator: moore was startled to see fames in jail as an inmate. >> that, basically, made my heart drop. and i was kind of upset. like what are you doing in here. i told him, straight up: don't lie to me, man. >> fames told moore he was innocent. >> when you know the truth, the truth will set you free. and when you know the truth, you don't have to answer any questions or ask god any
questions. >> narrator: coming up. >> this is the year of release and when god is going to start releasing his chosen ones. and i'm one of those that he's going to be releasing. >> thomas fames finds out if he will be released free. >> most people think they can't. >> narrator: michael lesher shares his jailhouse fitness tips. wahlalalalallala! smooth, but crisp. it's kind of like drinking a food that's a drink, or a drink that's a food, woooooh! [ male announcer ] taste it and describe the indescribable. could've had a v8.
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here's what's happening right now in the final con gregszal race of 2012. charles bustani has defeated jeff landry for louisiana's third district. an american doctor was rescued by american and afghanistan forces. the mission was ordered after it was learned the doctor was in imminent danger. hugo chavez has just announced his cancer is back. he will return to cuba tomorrow for more treatment. now, back to "lockup."
>> announcer: due to mature subject matter, viewer discretion is advised. >> i'll help you with self es feel and all of that, man. >> i'll miss you. i'll be home soon. every day. no, stop. >> don't worry abts it. >> narrator: most inmates at san antonio's bear county jail find working out is one way to beat the monotony of incarceration. and michael lesher is no exception.
>> most people think they can't do pull ups from it. >> narrator: the pull up method is against jail rules. he says his sets are short enough that he can usually do them out of sight of roaming officers. >> after the workout, try your hardest to make everything you put in your body, proteins, starches, things that are going to be stackers, you know, body stackers. that's how you grow. if you don't get enough food, you can only use what you put in your body. if you work more than that, they're going to burn off what you put in your body. again, 40 pounds, 44 pounds since i've been here, i don't think too much of it is fat, you know what i mean? so i've got a six pack. i'm doing all right. >> unlike most inmates, lesher finds the meal served by the jail to be effective in feeling the rigorous workouts that help keep that six pack from turning into a ke gurks.
>> remember, just two slices of bread. >> i understand all of my carbohydrates, the break downs of noncomplete protein. i can eat things like bread, sugars. it breaks down into a glucose. i use it before energy to work out. >> and lesher has also figured out how to acquire food trays from otherings. most of them are willing to purchase from the commissary. lesher is more than willing to deal. >> oh, man, i just won ten. when i the logically, i miegts as well trade that to the kids that love that stuff. they're hungry. i'm sitting there working out. i've got enough food in my body to do it. >> lesher pays for the commissary snacks through another one of his talents.
>> what are those? >> these are poker chips. $2.50 chips, 5 cent chips, 10 cent chips. you know what i mean? but, like i said, it's up to me to survive. my family does what they can. but they can't do too much. they're retired and living off of a fixed income. i hustle. poker tends to be a good hustle for somebody that played it 15 years. i feed off of it. >> lesher learns commissary through one other method, as well. >> it's already sold before i did it. i have a handkerchief that i'm going to be working on. what i do is braid the edges. and then i'll put the portrait of the man's kid and his wife on there. charge $4 for the hand ker chip irts and then i'll charge
another $5 to do the portrait on a handkerchief. >> managing the dollars and cents of life behind bars is a skill lesher has honed over his 15 years of incarceration. todd allen has also spent most of the past 20 years in and out of jail in prison. now, he's taking it upon himself to uphold another inmate tradition. one with a decidedly more sinister side. >> we don't allow snitches and we don't allow child molesters. >> when allen discovered an accused child molester had moved onto his housing yunt, he threatened to dish out his own form of justice. by the next time we saw him, he had apparently made good on it. >> he was in his cell. that way, he couldn't run out of the cell on me. the door was automatically shut. he was acting like he was asleep. i woke him up. i said hey, get up, punk. i've got bad news for you. i said you got three seconds to tell me the truth.
he said yes, sir, that's what i'm in here for. and i slapped the [bleep] out of him about three times. if i had a lot of time on my hands, say i had a life sentence in prison or 20 years, i'd have killed the guy. >> basically, the unit officer called me in b and said he had an inmate that was in fear of his safety. so i went to the unit to interview the inmate. at that time, we sent him down to medical to be evaluated by medical staff where he alleges that he fell off of his bunk. >> jail officials wr unable to issue any punitive sanctions. >> i'm not going to say yeah, i did do it. but if they find out any different, i'll tell you the consequences. i still feel happy about myself, you know. >> allen is proud to take credit for assaulting another inmate.
jail officials have been sorting out who's responsible for the water burn suffered by victor sanchez. lomez says the burns were from an earlier fight. >> is he the one who threw the water on you? >> no, no. >> i don't know about that. he was already late. >> what did you hit him with? >> my hand. >> who had the thing that cut the back of his head open? >> i don't know about that. >> then he comes and says where's the weapon? i said what weapon, fool? maybe he bumped his head up on the door because he had already had a cut. i did what i had to do, but i didn't use a weapon to cut him or anything like that. and i sure as hell didn't throw no water.
>> i'm not a fruit. i didn't get to be 48 by being an idiot. >> after a disciplinary hearing on the matter, the truth finally came out. sanchez admitted all of his injuries, including the burns caused in the earlier fight. even the bloody wound on the back of his head. the criminal charges sanchez was going to file have been dropped. but sometimes, in jail, the settling of one dispute is simply the calm before the next storm. coming up -- >> you talk like a duck, you walk like a duck, don't get mad at me if i think you're a duck. there's only one person with inconsistent stories. that's a liar. guadalupe lomez suffers a beating of his own. ve to. only citi price rewind automatically searches for the lowest price. and if it finds one, you get refunded the difference.
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>> narrator: inside the walls of san antonio's bear county jail, thomas thames has spent the last three years trying to fit his 6'9" on a considerably shorter bed. the former basketball player and barbecue restaurant owner has also been fighting charges of murder and concealing a corpse in a case described as a drug deal gone bad. >> i had a dream about god releasing me. and opening the gaets of even. opening the gates so i can be out. and that's the picture right there that i have on the wall. this is jupiter. this is the year of release. and this is when god is going to start releasing his chosen ones. and i'm one of those that he's going to be releasing. >> narrator: and according to thames, his statement is no longer one of faith but of fact. >> i went to court and they said heywood, when are you ready? i didn't know i was getting my kasz dismissed. i knew it was going to be dismissed, but i didn't know when.
so when i went to court, i was ready to be dismissed. it took me seconds -- or it took me five minutes to get my case dismissed. i had just spent three and a half years for what it only took five minutes to do. i should be leaving any day. today, tomorrow, wednesday. i'm just waiting on paperwork to be cleared uch. as soon as e get out, my job is to preach the word. >> thames did, in fact, leave the jail. he did have the most serious of his charges, murder, dismissed. >> unlawful carrying a gun and the capital murder cases were dismissed. and in court, they found him guilty of the disposing of a human corpse, where he was sentenced to 10 years, tdc. >> why would he have thought he was going to go straight from jail home? >> now, that part would be a
misinterpretation in his part. >> he was there in front of the judge with his attorney. so whether he didn't understand or if he knew and maybe really misrepresenting the truth to you, i don't know. >> but he's there in front of the judge and everybody pleading out to tdc. >> he had already been transferred to a texas state prison to begin serving his sentence. t 4rks ames will be eligible for parole for little more than a year. one of his fornler customers will serve as an important lesson. i want him to get back on track and let him know, you know what, these chances are given to you for a reason. you can't mess it up.
>> narrator: officer rodriguez has received a report that he has an operative for the mexican ma mafia. >> your name came up in a report, victor. you don't know the report we're talking about? roughly 20 days ago? no, someone else was in fair view. the report says that this guy fears that you and a bunch of other inmates are basically strong arming him and other inmates and that you're ex-mexican mafia. you have a history of being identified as a gang member in the past. the thing is, there's 44 units in that unit. why would he do that?
>> i don't know who he is. >> it doesn't matter who he is. the point is he identified you. we want to go ahead and try to weed out the major prison gangs from general population because these particular gangs are predatory gangs and they prey upon the weaker inmates. we want to get them out of population so we can make the jail, as a whole, safer for inmay wants and staff. >> so you understand what i'm telging you, right? >> i'm going on lockdown? >> you probably will today. >> why? >> my job is to figure out where we're going to house you at. >> but i'm not doing nothing. why should i go on lockdown if i'm not doing anything? you could look at my reports. >> i am looking at your reports. >> i'm not getting in trouble. i'm not getting write ups. >> we're talking about a report you were involved in. why do you think this guy would identify you as a member of the mex kwan mafia? >> who is he? >> it doesn't matter who he is.
why would he say that? >> to put you on lockdown. >> why would he want to do that to you? why does somebody want to get rid of you? >> i don't know. i don't have no response to that. . >> you got in a fight with two guys, didn't you? or one guy? what was that about? >> money. >> talking about drugs here? know, talking about money he owed me. >> how much did he owe you? >> 50e. >> for what? >> for fixing his car. >> when they did the investigation, you told them it was boor weer. >> it was beer and the car. >> only one person has inconsistent stories that. 's a liar. i mean, we're both grown men here. there's no beating around the bush.
you've been lying in the past. why, on earth, would i believe anything you tell me at this point. so here's what i'm seeing. you're going to fight as a member in the population. you talk like a duck, you walk like a duck, don't get mad at me if i think you're a duck. >> narrator: still, without concrete proof of sanchez's gang affiliation, officer rodriguez has no choice but do but to return him to general population. >> we may need to keep a close eye on him in population to see who he's talking to and to see what his exact ties were outside the facility. as a result, if we could do that, if we do our job right, we may be able to identical not just him, but maybe more inmates that are aligned with this gang and get a chunk out of population. >> his former nemesis, guadalupe lomez may have just had his own run in with the gang. >> lomez is currently serving
his detention. a couple days ago, he was involved in assault. inmates were out and took it upon themselves to assault lomez. >> the inmates were sent to disciplinary detention and could possibly face criminal charges. >> no one knows the reason why they assaulted him. it's allegations as to why they did it. but no one knows for sure why he assaulted. >> supposedly, took it upon themselves to assault lomez. >> lomez, despite his injuries, would not give any information about why he was assaulted. so, for now, he will be treated for his wounds and transferred to another segregation.
>> narrator: coming up. jail brings hard truths for michael lesher. >> another person just balled him up and threw him away like a piece of trash. >> todd allen receives disturbing news from the kourlts and home. llback. wow! that's a savings of over 29 bucks! twenty-nine bucks!!?? and they're powered by friendship. see for yourself if you could save on the brands you want. walmart.
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♪ the words of a warrior ♪ oh, close, the words of a warrior ♪ ♪ my family, my friends, my home boys ♪ ♪ doing everything i know being wrong ♪ ♪ and it is so true when they sing that song ♪ ♪ everything that you do comes back tenfold ♪ ♪ a product of the bad life in the bad land ♪ ♪ only made one thing that's a bad land ♪ ♪ what i have become people cannot understand ♪ ♪ a dememted little cracker with
the first white land ♪ ♪. >> i wanted to be a rapper. but it never happened. ♪ ♪ >> narrator: michael lesher has spent half of his life behind bars and is now facing three kounts of burglary with a ha bation of forgs. he has just turned down a plea deal for 25 years in order to go to trial. if found guilty, he could get life in prison. if he's set free, he'll have a different set of challenges. >> i don't know what's in the free world. i don't know how to pay bills, i
don't know how to pay rernt. i don't know how to do a w 2 form. it is what it is. another person just balled up and thrown away like a piece of trash. >> while lesher awaits his fate in bear county, he's looking at another inmate who could be facing a long sentence. >> a short time later, he got some new ink to honor his gang. >> yeah, i decided to go ahead, man, with a little different look. this one here is abt. for the three-leaf clover, one is a shamrock clover. this here represents, man.
allen also received something new from the district attorney. because of his past record, allen could face significant time in prison if he were found guilty in trial. >> though allen is holding out for a better deal, he is anxious to leave the jail because of yet another piece of news. he just got word that his mother is gravely ill and fears he will never see her again because she lives far from san antonio. >> show's on oxygen, breathing machines. even though people think i'm cold-hearted, and, in a way, i am. i want to be able to see my mom before she does pass on, you know? >> if allen quickly accepts a plea deal, he could accept a prison closer to his home.
>> i almost died, so, you know, just asked good for forgiveness. he'll help you. and one of the letter she wrote in there, she said i'll never forget you. >> if he doesn't accept a deal, he might have to be acquitted to see her. and even he feels that's a long shot. >> i've seen people go through hard times and bad times and take beatings. i say just to see her one more time, and i'd take five years. i might even take the ten piece, i don't know. she's special to me, man. she really is.