An incident 30 years ago today at the Moberly Correctional Center left one guard dead and led to the execution of one of his attackers.
In 1983, Mark Schreiber of Jefferson City was the chief internal affairs officer for the Department of Corrections. He was called on to participate in the investigation of that incident.
Schreiber says the investigation revealed that the inmates had been planning something.
“The intention was to start some type of disturbance on July 4. Well, the inmates involved became intoxicated on July the third, so they were a day early.”
Schreiber says several guards including Tom Jackson, 62, entered Housing Unit 2 to attempt to remove intoxicated inmates.
“The cat calls started and then some pushing and shoving. The next thing you know, the thing escalated, somebody grabbed and held Officer Jackson and the other inmate then stabbed him multiple times … they were fatal. Then all heck broke loose within certain wings of that unit.”
Schreiber credits a small number of staff on duty that day for containing what he calls a “serious incident” that could have turned into a full-blown riot.
“The Captain in charge at the time, who was the highest-ranking person on duty, he basically said, okay, we’re going to get some weapons because we can not get these inmates back into their cells and they were breaking out of the wing into the atrium of the unit.”
Schreiber says shots were fired and some inmates were hit with pellets that ricocheted, but the incident ended.
Three inmates were prosecuted for the murder of officer Jackson. Rodney Carr, one of two inmates that stabbed Jackson, is serving a life sentence without parole in the Potosi Correctional Center. Roy “Hog” Roberts, who held Jackson while he was attacked, was executed in 1999.
Robert Driscoll, originally from California and a self-proclaimed member of the Aryan Brotherhood prison gang, told investigators he had stabbed Jackson. He was sentenced to death twice but eventually convicted of manslaughter after a series of appeals and re-trials on technicalities. He was released from prison in 2004.
Schreiber calls that “frustrating.”
“He was, by his own admission, the individual that killed Officer Tom Jackson.”
Schreiber says there was no doubt that incident could have been worse.
“There’s a real fine line between the term ‘riot’ and that being a serious disturbance … it did not involve the entire prison population … but it certainly involved one of the main housing units and a number of inmates were involved.”
In the days after the Moberly incident, there was concern throughout the prison system that other events might flare up.
“We only had the one maximum security prison, and that was here in Jefferson City, and those people involved in the Moberly incident were sent down to [Missouri State Penitentiary]. There’s always concern that something might occur at another facility, as a sympathy-type event.”
Schreiber says the incident was one of the catalysts for the creation of a new emergency squad, “Corrections Special Tactics and Response,” that could respond when such events arose rather than having the Missouri State Penitentiary Emergency Squad respond as it did in 1983, thus leaving MSP less equipped to deal with an incident within its own walls.
AUDIO: Interview with Mark Schreiber, 34:22