When Gunnison doctor S. Pratt arrived at the Central Utah Correctional Facility on July 6, he saw "the biggest puddle of blood I've seen in my life."
Another inmate lay on the floor with a plastic shield over him and a prison guard kneeling over him, Pratt testified Thursday. Nearby, prison personnel were trying to resuscitate inmate Lonnie Blackmon.Pratt said he and others tried to resuscitate the victim for more than 30 minutes but could not get much air into his lungs, partly because of his many stab wounds. Blackmon had been stabbed more than 50 times.
"There were no signs of life whatsoever," Pratt said.
The testimony came during the first day of a preliminary hearing for four inmates of the prison. Inside the prison's courtroom, nine defense attorneys sat next to the four inmates while a barrage of security officers looked on.
Security is particularly tight. Prosecutors said the inmates, Troy Michael Kell, Eric Thomas Daniels, John Fredrick Cannistraci and Paul Richard Payne, have been making "constant threats" over the past few weeks.
"They've been saying they're going to attack somebody, that they're going to get a guard," said Assistant Utah Attorney General Kirk Torgensen.
All four inmates are charged with capital murder. Sanpete County officials are seeking the death penalty.