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Tillsonburg man, 82, beaten to death in Florida jail, recalled as ‘confused,’ ‘lonely man’

By Heather Rivers, Woodstock Sentinel-Review

Art Williams, 82, who had been deemed mentally unfit for trial, was found dead Monday in his cell, allegedly brutally beaten to death by his cellmate Frederick Patterson III, 21, in the maximum-security wing of the Jackson County Correctional Facility.

Art Williams, 82, who had been deemed mentally unfit for trial, was found dead Monday in his cell, allegedly brutally beaten to death by his cellmate Frederick Patterson III, 21, in the maximum-security wing of the Jackson County Correctional Facility.

WOODSTOCK  - 

A Florida prison where a Tillsonburg senior was found slain in his cell is standing by his incarceration with a man already accused of murdering another cellmate, but the prison chief says the case will be reviewed.

Art Williams, 82, who had been deemed mentally unfit for trial, was found dead Monday in his cell, allegedly brutally beaten to death by his cellmate Frederick Patterson III, 21, in the maximum-security wing of the Jackson County Correctional Facility.

Patterson has confessed to the crime and there’s video evidence of it, prison officials say.

Patterson had been moved to the facility in Marianna, in northwest Florida, last fall, where he was awaiting trial for the October 2015 murder of another cellmate at another Florida institution.

Williams, believed to have died of blunt force trauma, is the first inmate to fall victim to homicide at the facility, officials said.

Mark Foreman, chief of corrections at the facility, said he believes all prison procedures were followed properly before the slaying.

“Based on the initial review, there has been nothing found showing the inmates were not housed accordingly,” Foreman said Wednesday.

“They were in a secure setting.”

Still, Foreman said an assessment will be conducted.

Williams had been incarcerated after being charged with threatening police and offering “deceptive” information during his arrest in a Florida child-luring probe.

The luring incident involving Williams began Oct. 18, when police were called to a home by the mother of a nine-year-old boy.

According to the police report, the mother said she called police after her fiance asked a stranger in a burgundy car parked behind their house to leave because they believed he’d been trying to lure the boy into his car.

He told his mother he’d seen the car previously at a bus stop and several times driving by the house, with the man motioning for him to come to the car.

The man was described as balding, older-looking and small-framed with red hair.

State troopers tracked the man by the licence plate number provided by the mother. Williams told police he was in the real-estate business, wanted to buy a house and denied trying to contact the boy before the officer even mentioned a child.

Court proceedings against Williams finished Jan. 5, when he was found mentally unfit to stand trial on charges of loitering, trespassing, luring, stalking and giving false information to police.

He was headed for a treatment facility once a bed was available, court documents said.

Both Williams and Patterson were housed in the jail’s maximum security area, where only two prisoners are housed in each cell.

Those who have committed misdemeanours are housed eight prisoners to a cell.

Foreman said all procedures, including hourly security checks, were carried out appropriately.

Meanwhile, a Tillsonburg woman who rented her home from Williams, said there were signs something was wrong with her landlord before he was incarcerated in Florida.

“When I talked to him, he didn’t understand what I said,” said Samm Daradics.

“I would have to repeat it several times.”

Daradics, a mother of two boys, described Williams as often “confused.” She believed he likely suffered from some form of dementia. He told her his mother died last year, and his daughter lived in England.

“He seemed like a very lonely man,” she said.

“He didn’t have any family or anyone to talk to.”

Woodstock Sentinel-Review