Cellmate assault leads to murder investigation at Telford Unit

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By Kenny Mitchell


An assault between cellmates at the Telford Unit prison has left an inmate dead and another facing his second charge of murder.

According to a statement issued to The Tribune this morning by Texas Department of Criminal Justice Public Information Officer Robert Hurst, on Sunday, June 25, 2017 at 4:16 am, security personnel at the Telford Unit were conducting rounds when they observed 29 year-old Pete Ayala unresponsive in his cell. His cellmate was restrained and removed from the cell. Staff began life saving measures on Ayala and called 911. He was then transported to Wadley Regional Hospital in Texarkana. On June 26th, Ayala was pronounced deceased by the attending physician at the hospital. Preliminary indications are that Ayala was assaulted by his cellmate. Investigators with the Office of Inspector General – TDCJ are investigating the case as a homicide.

Ayala was received in December 2009 from Henderson County to serve a 40-year sentence for murder with a deadly weapon.

Ayala was convicted of the shooting death of Johnny Lee Brown of Trinidad, Texas in the early part of 2009. According to court documents, Brown was discovered deceased at a Trinidad residence on February 18, 2009 and evidence pointed law enforcement to Ayala, who was then arrested in Garland, Texas and transported back to Henderson County. Trinidad is a small town just west of Athens, Texas.

Ayala’s cellmate at the Telford Unit, 22 year old Justin Williams, was received in November 2016 to serve a 50 year sentence for murder with a deadly weapon. Williams’ criminal history includes charges for the harassment and assault of a public servant in Lee County in 2012 and a murder charge in December of 2014 in Harris County.

TDCJ officials state the case is under investigation.


In the photo, on the left, Pete Ayala and on the right, Justin Williams.

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