ELKTON — A man charged with attempting to poison a fellow Cecil County Detention Center inmate — purportedly because the alleged victim declined to participate in a cellblock breakfast boycott in protest of the kitchen running out of sausage gravy — has rejected a plea deal offer.
Shackled and clad in a CCDC inmate uniform, the defendant, Ibe Nyshere Lyles, 43, appeared for a scheduled courtroom plea hearing on Friday.
But moments after the proceeding started, Lyles’ defense lawyer, Ellis Rollins III, informed Cecil County Circuit Court Judge William W. Davis Jr. and Assistant State’s Attorney Robert Nelson that his client had a “change of heart” and no longer wanted to enter into a plea agreement. Details of the plea deal offered by the state were not disclosed during the hearing.
Lyles is charged with attempted poisoning — a felony that is punishable by no less than two years in prison and no more than 10 years — and two lesser counts of second-degree assault in connection with the March incident at the county jail.
As of Tuesday, a trial date for Lyles had not been scheduled. Lyles remains in the CCDC without bond, court records show.
Charging documents indicate that Deputy Kyle Davis of the Cecil County Sheriff’s Office responded to the detention center at approximately 3 p.m. on March 23, after he had received a report regarding an alleged assault on an inmate.
The alleged victim identified Lyles as the suspect during an interview with Davis, according to court records, which further indicate that Lyles refused to speak with the investigator.
“(The alleged victim) stated that the jail ran out of sausage gravy, which caused the other inmates in his cellblock to refuse to eat breakfast. (The alleged victim) stated that he decided to eat breakfast anyway. (The alleged victim) noticed that the other inmates became very upset that he decided to eat anyway,” according to charging documents.
While the alleged vicim was eating breakfast in his cell, according to his account, Lyles allegedly entered that area and “pulled out a bottle of cleaner from underneath his shirt and poured the cleaning chemicals all over (the alleged victim’s) tray and food . . . Inmate Lyles stated that if (the alleged victim) wanted to eat that he might as well eat like a pig. Inmate Lyles then shoved the food off the tray in (the alleged victim’s) face and attempted to make him eat it,” court records show.
At that point, Lyles allegedly punched the alleged victim in the face and head, court records allege.
A photo of the alleged victim’s face and head was taken “because it appeared to CCDC staff that there was injury behind (his) right ear area,” police said. The inmate was taken to CCDC medical staff for further evaluation, police added.
As part of the investigation, Davis watched video gleaned from a surveillance camera inside that particular section of the jail, police reported.
“Deputy Davis observed (the alleged victim) standing outside of his cell in the common area, holding a meal tray, and (he) appeared to be eating food from that meal tray. Deputy Davis noticed that (the alleged victim) was the only inmate that was eating in that cellblock,” court records show.
The footage watched by the investigator showed the alleged victim walk into his cell, after another inmate had entered into that space, police said. In addition, the video viewed by Davis then showed Lyles walking around the cellblock and then taking a seat at a table in the common area, where he remained for “a short time,” before standing, police added.
“Deputy Davis observed inmate Lyles enter (the alleged victim’s) cell, appearing to be upset. Deputy Davis believed inmate Lyles to be upset because (when) he was seated at the table in the common area, inmate Lyles was shaking his head, appearing to be responding to the conversation that taking place inside (the alleged victim’s) cell,” court records show.
The video viewed by Davis then showed several other inmates walking into the alleged victim’s cell, after Lyles had entered it, police reported.
“Deputy Davis observed inmate Lyles exit the cell, carrying (the alleged victim’s) meal tray. Inmate Lyles dumped the food that was on the tray into the trash bag and placed the empty tray onto the floor next to the door,” court records allege.
The incident in March marked the second time in two months that Lyles had been charged in connection with an alleged assault on a fellow inmate, court records show.
Charging documents indicate that Lyles allegedly punched a fellow CCDC inmate twice in the face on Jan. 25, 2020 and that a surveillance camera inside the jail videotaped that purported attack. Investigators filed a second-degree assault charge against Lyles, who is scheduled for a March 12 trial in that criminal case, according to court records.
At the time of that January 2020 incident, Lyles was serving an 18-month sentence for beating, kicking and strangling his family’s six-month-old puppy, a pit bull named “Deuces,” to death on April 15, 2019 in the backyard of their Elkton residence — because the pet had urinated on his couch, court records show.
One of the eyewitnesses videotaped the deadly attack on a cellphone and called authorities to lodge a complaint, police reported shortly after the incident.
In July 2019, Cecil County District Court Judge Clara E. Campbell imposed a maximum three-year sentence on Lyles after he pleaded guilty to aggravated animal cruelty, the most serious charge against him, according to court records and Cecil Whig archives.
The judge suspended one month of the sentence and then ordered Lyles to serve two years of supervised probation, after completing his 35-month term in a Maryland Department of Corrections prison.
Lyles appealed that criminal case, however; and he received an 18-month jail term on Dec. 9, 2019 after, once again, pleading guilty to aggravated animal cruelty, according to Cecil County Circuit Court records. Specifically, the judge in that appealed case imposed a three-year sentence on Lyles and then suspended half of it, leaving him with an 18-month jail term, court records show.