Guard attacked in juvie jail has brain damage

Posted at 9:05 AM, Sep 10, 2015
and last updated 2015-09-10 11:05:29-04

A teenager is going to prison for 25 years for attacking a detention guard at a juvenile facility with a pillow case full of rocks.

It happened at the Lookout Mountain Youth Services Center last summer. The juvenile and three others escaped after the attack by cutting a hole in the fence.

“This was a brutal, vicious attack,” said Jefferson County district attorney Pete Weir on Wednesday.

Zachary Oliver, 18 now, was sentenced to 25 years behind bars after being charged as an adult when he was 17.

Prosecutors say Oliver carried out the premeditated, violent escape that included almost killing 65-year-old guard Doug Williams.

“Over the course of several weeks, (Oliver) went into the yard and slowly collected large rocks," said Weir. "Oliver broke out of his cell, laid in wait for Mr. Williams and when Mr. Williams came by, he proceeded to pummel him with that pillow sack full of rocks."

Weir said Oliver had 243 incidents in three years in juvie, ranging from failure to follow orders to fights with other juveniles, prolonging his time in juvie.

"It’s a young man that hadn’t gotten the message," said Weir. "And, I’m not sure anything is going to change his behavior. He’s had that opportunity in the juvenile system – and certainly not taken advantage of it.”

The youth services guard attacked during an escape last summer has permanent brain damage.

Doug Williams was working at the Lookout Mountain Youth Services Center last August when then 17-year-old Zachary Oliver escaped from his cell and attacked Williams.

"He then kicked and stomped Mr. Williams in the head nine times," said Weir.

Williams was knocked unconscious. While he laid bleeding, prosecutors said Oliver took the guard's keys and let out three other juveniles.

The four escaped teens were arrested hours later.

Oliver was sentenced last week to 24 years in prison. He had pleaded guilty to first-degree assault, aggravated robbery, aiding escape and escape.

"This is an extremely dangerous young man. This assault was planned, deliberate, and vicious. He continued to pummel Mr. Williams with the bag of rocks, long after he was disabled," said Weir. "Judge [Lilly] Oeffler recognized that nothing less than a prison sentence would protect the public.”

Williams was in court for the sentencing hearing, but his wife spoke on his behalf.

Prosecutors said during the attack Williams suffered a subdural hematoma, skull fracture, broken nose and abrasions. He has permanent brain damage and his short term memory has been seriously compromised.

A second teen who escaped, 18-year-old Antoin Griego, pled guilty to aggravated robbery, escape, aiding escape  and possession of contraband. He was sentenced to six years in the Youthful Offender System of the Department of Corrections.

Two other juveniles were charged in this case. One has been adjudicated and sentenced. The other’s case is pending.