Man unable to pay bond beaten to death in Texas jail within 48 hours of arriving

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A Texas man who couldn’t afford to pay his bond was beaten to death in his holding cell by two other inmates within 48 hours of being booked.

Patrick Joseph Brown, 46, was accused of stealing a guitar and had his bail set at $3,000 for misdemeanor theft charges, despite having no prior violent record.  When Brown couldn’t pay up, he was thrown behind bars and left with two other inmates in a cell.  Within several hours of being there, they allegedly beat him unconscious and he later died at the hospital.

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Although prisoners are supposed to be checked on every 15 minutes, Harris County Jail has a reputation for neglecting inmates– one diabetic was left without insulin and vomited dozens of times before passing out.  Another inmate died in custody after being smothered during a confrontation with guards.  In 2009, the jail was the subject of a Justice Department investigation.

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Each of the three men involved had spent three days or less in jail. Officials noted the only reasons they would’ve all been together would be that they were being booked, released or had just returned from their probable cause hearings.

The two men accused of beating Brown to death, Curtis Maxwell, 23, and Ebenezer Nah, 26, have been charged with aggravated assault causing serious bodily injury.  One man, Nah, was able to get out on bond before police even noticed he was involved.

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“Not knowing why (Brown) was there, we proceeded…from a medical standpoint, so not knowing a crime had been committed” said Sheriff Ron Hickman. “It’s not until we reviewed the video that we found out exactly what happened.”

The sheriff said no one was watching the jail cell’s cameras when the beating took place and blamed it on staff shortages.

The charges against Maxwell and Nah could be upgraded once an official cause of death for Brown has been released.