Man arrested, charged in jail cellmate's beating death

Killings in Duval County jail 'extremely rare,' assistant chief says

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – An inmate in the Duval County jail was apparently beaten to death Tuesday morning by one of his cellmates, according to Jacksonville police.

Asst. Chief Brian Kee said the two cellmates on the fifth floor of the jail got into a fight around 11 a.m. and it turned into a "beating." It does not appear that any weapon was used, but the victim suffered injuries that proved fatal.

On Tuesday night, police said Paul Dixon, 43, was arrested for killing his cellmate. The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office said he was charged with murder.

While the sheriff's office has not identified the victim's name, several sources tell News4Jax the cellmate who died is David Ramirez, 50.

Jail records show Ramirez (shown in Department of Corrections photo, right) died Tuesday. According to court records, he was serving life in prison for child molestation and was in the jail waiting for an evidentiary hearing in his bid for a new trial. 

Kee said corrections officers became aware of the fight and the floor was put on lockdown but paramedics were not able to save Ramirez. The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office said his family was notified.

"When men go to jail accused, convicted of hurting a child, there is no peace in jail," said News4Jax crime and safety analyst Ken Jefferson. "They have to constantly watch over their back. They have to hope they can befriend someone to look out for them. To protect them."

Dixon was convicted of murder in 1993 when he was 17 years old and sentenced to life in prison. He was back in the Duval County jail awaiting a resentencing hearing.

Kee said a homicide in the jail is "extremely rare." He's been with the Sheriff's Office for more than 20 years and can't remember another one.

He said a third man was assigned to the cell and is a potential witness to the beating. He said cameras in the jail captured "pretty valuable evidence" in the case but the Medical Examiner will have to determine the victim's cause of death.

The fifth floor of the jail is for inmates who have been sentenced and are awaiting transport to prison, and inmates who have been brought back from prison for court proceedings, like re-sentencings.

In April, Gordon Shutt, who was in jail for driving with a suspended license, was injured after he was beaten by a group of inmates. His attorney, John Phillips, said police said there is no video of the incident.

"The video was deleted, so we don't really know what the story was," Phillips said. 

Phillips said the video the Sheriff's Office said it has of the beating that occurred Tuesday will help the case, of which he is not affiliated.

About the Authors:

Jim Piggott is the reporter to count on when it comes to city government and how it will affect the community.

Corley Peel is a Texas native and Texas Tech graduate who covered big stories in Joplin, Missouri, Tulsa, Oklahoma and Jacksonville, Florida before returning to the Lone Star State. When not reporting, Corley enjoys hot yoga, Tech Football, and finding the best tacos in town.