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Prosecutors charged a 16-year-old boy in adult court Thursday after police say he assaulted another youth and a guard at the La Crosse County Juvenile Detention Center.

According to a criminal complaint, Hunter Turner of Phillips, Wis., smashed a cafeteria tray on a guard’s head before punching him about two dozen times Wednesday. It was the second attack on a guard reported this week.

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Hunter Turner

Turner

The attack came as the guard was doing a security check and had just walked past Turner, who was eating breakfast alone in the day room, according to the complaint. The guard suffered cuts and bruises to his face and head.

Another boy at the facility suffered a concussion when Turner punched him in the back of the head Tuesday, according to the complaint. Turner told police he believed the the other boy had told someone else a lie about Turner “dissing” him.

Turner, who turns 17 next month, was charged in La Crosse County Circuit Court with two counts of battery by prisoners, a felony, and two counts of disorderly conduct.

The Wisconsin court system treats 17-year-olds as adults; children under 17 are automatically charged as adults in cases of homicide and battery by prisoner.

According to the complaint, Turner was being held on Price County charges of carrying a concealed weapon and possession of a dangerous weapon by a person younger than 18.

A social worker told the court Turner had been sent to La Crosse County after assaulting youth and staff at two other detention facilities and is now heading to Lincoln Hills, the state’s trouble-plagued teen prison north of Wausau.

Judge Scott Horne imposed a $10,000 cash bond until Turner can be transfered to the Department of Corrections.

On Sunday a JDC guard suffered a cut to her head that required three staples when she and another guard were attacked by three girls, ages 12 to 16.

Facility superintendent David Steinberg said the attacks are unusual and a coincidence. Prior to Sunday it had been five years since a staff member was assaulted.

“It’s a terrible thing, but I feel like it’s more of anomaly,” he said.

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David Steinberg

Steinberg

The La Crosse County board last year approved nearly $130,000 in additional funding to keep three guards on duty at the JDC between the hours of 8 a.m. and midnight in response to a growing JDC population and a spike in suicide attempts in 2017.

The JDC also reduced its maximum daily population from 26 to 15.

“Our kid-to-staff ratio is one of the best in the state,” Steinberg said.

While comfortable with current staffing levels, Steinberg said changes in juvenile correction philosophy have made it harder for detention workers, who no longer see truants or other low-level offenders.

“We’re not dealing with the same kind of kids we were 10 years ago,” he said. “What’s left is just the highest-risk kids out there.”


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Chris Hubbuch can be reached at 608-791-8217. Follow him on Twitter @chrishubbuch.

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Reporter

Rhymes with Lubbock. La Crosse Tribune reporter and data geek. Covers energy, transportation and the environment, among other things.

(5) comments

YellowBee

Forget Lincoln Hills.....send his hinder to Dodge!!!

TopCommentor1

This kid is in rut. Look at that neck

The Mouse of Death

[angry]It would behoove the teens of today to stop reading books and working hard for a bright future. We are indeed bemezzled by the dazzling intellect of the teens of today who are even smarter than Stormy Daniels.

lutefisk

in my day they sent you off to military...well maybe not my day
.but someones day

Logged

What a little bit_h. Both time attacking people when there back was turned. You want to act tough try fighting like a man toe to toe. Hope some one smashes you in Lincoln Hills.

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