With four months still remaining, 2012 already has become the deadliest year in more than a decade in Texas prisons. The Texas Department of Criminal Justice has reported 10 homicides this year, up from only three in 2011. There were five in 2010 and just one in 2009, according to agency figures.
“It’s definitely jumped out at us,” Bruce Toney, the agency’s inspector general, said of the increase. “It definitely has not been an average year.” The homicides don’t appear to be connected and have been scattered throughout the 111-prison system. The reason for the surge, the highest number in 15 years, is uncertain, Toney said.
In the most recent slaying, Elasko Thomas, an East Texas man sentenced two years ago to life in prison for kidnapping and aggravated sexual assault, was killed August 7 at the Robertson Unit northeast of Abilene. Cellmate Michael Deloach is accused of killing him during an altercation. Deloach was convicted kidnapping and sexual assault by a Smith County jury in January of last year. It was his third trip to state prison.