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Prison Death Fueled By Name-Calling

By Marcus Gilmer in News on Jan 8, 2009 5:35PM

2009_01_08_katz.jpg In a city where a bump leads to a dead innocent teenager, nothing surprises us anymore. Including a prison beating death that stemmed from a name-calling, which happened last year at the downtown Metropolitan Correctional Center. Prosecutors in the case of the beating death of inmate Jason Katz claim that Jason Tolen, another inmate, beat Katz to death in March 2008 after Katz called Tolen a "snitch."

Jason Katz and other inmates began teasing Jason Tolen for "snitching" to guards about another inmate's "access to laundry items," prosecutors said in court papers this week. Tolen dared Katz to call him a snitch again, authorities said. It's unclear whether Katz responded, but Tolen walked across the room and punched Katz in the head about 20 times, causing a massive brain hemorrhage and immediate death, according to prosecutors.
Katz was serving a nine-month sentence for illegally selling a firearm. Tolen, who now faces second-degree murder charges for Katz's death, was serving 21-months for possession of stolen firearms, but that would be extended to life if he is convicted. The government, meanwhile, is trying to block the defense from claiming that calling someone names in prison provokes violence. Apparently, none of the prosecutors watch The Wire (language NSFW).

File image of Katz from WSBT