Details emerge of violent prison assault involving Jimmy Melvin Jr.

·3 min read

New details are emerging about a violent incident at a maximum security prison involving two convicts from Nova Scotia.

The incident happened Sept. 26 at the Atlantic Institution in Renous, N.B., and involved Jimmy Melvin Jr. and Joshua Preeper.

An interim publication ban imposed by a Nova Scotia judge has prevented some details of the incident from being reported.

But, at a hearing Friday morning in Halifax, Melvin's lawyer agreed to narrow the scope of the ban to allow details to be released. Ray Kuszelewski now only objects to the broadcast of security video from the prison.

Justice Peter Roskinski of the Nova Scotia Supreme Court has reserved his decision on if the video will be made public.

N.B. RCMP still investigating

Kuszewleski objected to the video being released because he expects Melvin to be charged in relation to the prison incident and broadcast of the video could prejudice his client's right to a fair trial. CBC News opposed the publication ban, leading to Friday's hearing.

New Brunswick RCMP told CBC News last week that they are still investigating the confrontation and no charges have been laid.

Part of CBC's objection to the publication ban is that without actual charges, or even a trial date, everything about this matter at this point is hypothetical.

Nova Scotia Crown attorneys presented details of the confrontation to Rosinski as part of their attempt to have Melvin declared a dangerous offender and locked up indefinitely.

Awaiting sentencing

Melvin is awaiting sentencing for a conviction on a charge of attempted murder. The judge is expected to rule on that application early in the new year.

At a hearing last month, prison staff testified about the events of Sept. 26.

They told of how Melvin, Preeper and a third Nova Scotia convict, Morgan McNeil, were in a "rec yard" at the prison, which they described as an outdoor area surrounded by a chain-link fence, topped with razor wire.

The guards said men are allowed into the yards for two hours a day for fresh air and exercise.

The guards testified that Melvin allegedly attacked Preeper, knocking him to the ground. The guards said Melvin repeatedly stomped on Preeper's head and kicked his prone body before they were able to separate the two.

One of the people who responded after the attack said Preeper was bleeding from the head, one of his eyes was swollen shut and he was breathing, but not responding.

Serious injuries

A doctor who saw Preeper when he was taken to a nearby hospital said he had life-threatening injuries, including bleeding on the brain. Dr. Camille Haddad testified that Preeper was comatose and he wouldn't speculate on how long he would take to recover from the attack.

The guards said Melvin and Preeper had been interacting at the prison for two weeks prior to this incident without any issues.

Joshua Preeper and his brother, Dustan, are each serving life sentences for the murder of Melissa Dawn Peacock in 2011. The brothers admitted to stabbing the 20-year-old woman, then dousing her body in gasoline and setting it on fire.

At a dangerous offender hearing last month, the Crown said Melvin has 25 separate convictions for offences dating back to 1995.