Video shows Ontario inmate killing cellmate and hiding body without guards noticing
WARNING: Story contains graphic details
Newly released surveillance video taken at the Elgin Middlesex Detention Centre in London, Ont., shows Anthony George beating his cellmate Adam Kargus to death and then dragging the body into a common shower area the next morning, without jail guards ever seeming to notice.
George, 32, was sentenced to life in prison with no possibility of parole for 10 years on Oct. 7 for the 2013 death of Kargus, 29, who was choked, punched, kicked and stomped to death. The presiding judge said that "to suggest the murder was brutal would be an understatement."
George was scheduled to be tried by jury, but the case and much of the evidence collected by homicide investigators never made it to trial because the Kettle Point First Nation man made a surprise guilty plea just as his three-week trial was set to begin.
CBC News can now publish the surveillance video for the first time, after a judge ordered it released to media organizations on Wednesday.
Beating witnessed by other inmates
The video was taken from a security camera mounted on the wall of Unit 6, one of a number of common areas for inmates inside the Elgin Middlesex Detention Centre on Oct. 25, 2013, and Oct. 31, 2013, the night Kargus died.
The video shows George physically interacting with Kargus a total of six times. Kargus appears to be put in a chokehold at least four times by the jailhouse killer in full view of other inmates.
On only one occasion are guards seen intervening, at 3:46 p.m. when George puts Kargus in a chokehold in full view of guards and inmates.
George admitted during his sentencing hearing that he was drunk when he killed Kargus, after he consumed a toilet bowl full of jailhouse brew, an improvised alcoholic concoction created by mashing and fermenting fruit.
Nurse suspected intoxication
The court heard that a nurse on duty at the jail on the night Kargus was killed was concerned that George was intoxicated because he seemed happy and louder than usual.
She reported her concerns to the guards, who decided that they would deal with it in the morning because of a staffing shortage and locked George inside a cell with Kargus.
George also admitted to the court that he had smoked a cigarette laced with phencyclidine, or PCP, an illegal drug widely considered dangerous because of its tendency to cause hostility, violence and psychosis in some users.
Questions remain as to why the two men were locked in a cell together at the jail.
George known for violence
George is a repeat violent offender with anger issues and an alcohol abuse problem, which had been identified by the court system as his trigger to commit crimes.
Kargus, by contrast, was a drug addict, who had been arrested for fraud and was sent to jail after he was denied bail once the court learned he was still using drugs.
Once the two men are locked inside a cell together, George can be seen through the window, punching, kicking, stomping and choking Kargus while the inmate's face is pressed against the glass.
During the beating, the other inmates can be seen banging on the glass of their own cells, some of whom the court heard were cheering George on, while others were trying to alert the guards.
No guards responded
Throughout the beating, which the surveillance video shows lasted about an hour, no guards responded, even though it was caught on a closed circuit camera.
The next morning, George can be seen on the video leaving his cell, enlisting the help of other inmates to clean up the blood, wrap Kargus's body in a bedsheet and drag it to the jail's shower area.
Two other inmates were charged in the case, but the charges were eventually dropped against one of the suspects, while the other pleaded guilty to a lesser charge.
Guards finally discover Kargus's body at around 10 a.m. on Nov.1 and called paramedics, but by then Kargus was already dead.
A post-mortem ruled Kargus's cause of death was blunt force trauma to the head, neck and face. His face was so badly beaten, the court heard, that Kargus had to be identified by his tattoos.
Six staff were fired after Kargus's death for failing to do their jobs.
However, three of the guards got their jobs back in April 2017 after an Ontario grievance settlement board found that the actions of the guards had "gone on for years, if not decades, and they were open and obvious."
Since Kargus's death the Elgin-Middlesex Detention Centre has been embroiled in lawsuits over allegations that inmates' rights are routinely violated.