Adam Huber, left, the man serving a six-month sentence for stabbing a 14-year-old boy in the hand at Bud Werner Memorial Library in April, was involved in an altercation Saturday with the boy’s older brother, William Ellifritz, who has pleaded guilty to second-degree burglary and second-degree theft related to six burglaries at downtown businesses May 4.
Steamboat Springs An oversight at the Routt County Jail led to a fight between two inmates in the visitation area.
Adam Huber, the man serving a six-month sentence for stabbing a 14-year-old boy in the hand at Bud Werner Memorial Library in April, was involved in an altercation Saturday with the boy’s older brother, William Ellifritz, who has pleaded guilty to second-degree burglary and second-degree theft related to six burglaries at downtown businesses May 4. Police say the 14-year-old brother admitted to helping Ellifritz commit the crimes.
Routt County Sheriff Garrett Wiggins said that Ellifritz shared a pod with Huber when he first arrived at the jail and that they were separated once it was realized there was a potential for conflict.
“We try our hardest to keep them separated,” Wiggins said.
But the men found themselves together again in the visitation room Saturday, and a fight ensued. Wiggins said there are conflicting statements as to who started the fight, and the investigation is ongoing.
According to an affidavit filed in Routt County Court, Huber told deputies he entered the visitation room, Ellifritz called him a name and Huber then asked Ellifritz, “What are you going to do?”
“Ellifritz said, ‘You stab little kids’ and started punching him and the two wrestled to the ground,” the affidavit states.
Ellifritz said Huber walked into the visiting area and started saying, “Do something. Do something.”
Wiggins said the fight lasted about 35 seconds before deputies realized what was happening and broke it up.
“I think we handled it appropriately,” Wiggins said. “I wish our deputies would have realized that we had two people in there that didn’t get along and would have caught it earlier.”
Wiggins said a preliminary analysis of audio recordings indicate Ellifritz made the first instigating statement.
Both men have been charged with misdemeanor harassment and appeared in Routt County Court on Wednesday. Routt County Chief Deputy District Attorney Rusty Prindle said he is waiting to receive the police reports before proceeding with the cases.
Ellifritz appeared unharmed while Huber had several cuts and bruises around his eyes and forehead.
“I didn’t do this attack on him,” Huber said. “Your honor, Mr. Prindle, I sure wish you all would have let me out. This wouldn’t have happened.”
Ellifritz did not speak in court.
Jail Lt. Michelle Richardson said both men were put in disciplinary lockdown after the fight, which means their privileges have been taken away and they are isolated in the cell 23 hours of each day.
“We have zero tolerance for fighting in the facility,” Richardson said.
Wiggins said either man could have avoided the altercation by leaving the visiting area. Wiggins said he thinks the deputy working in the control center at the time did not realize the two men were in the visiting area at the same time.
Wiggins said he and deputies would meet to discuss ways to keep similar incidents from happening in the future, but he said fights are inevitable in a detention facility.
“If someone is determined to get even with someone ... they’ll seize the moment, even if it’s only 15 seconds,” Wiggins said.
To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247 or email mstensland@SteamboatToday.com