A Bryan County jailer was fired and charged after he carried a pistol into jail and also into a courtroom, according to the Bryan County Sheriff’s Office.
Joseph James Hamilton, 57, Denison, Texas, was charged with bringing contraband (weapon) into jail. He was fired and charged following an investigation by the sheriff’s office.
According to an affidavit by Sheriff’s Investigator John Bates, another jailer said Hamilton had been carrying a pistol Aug. 9 in his front pocket and that surveillance cameras showed him removing the gun from his pocket and placing it into a gun box in front of the east jail door.
The affidavit states that Hamilton had escorted prisoners to the third-floor courtroom where District Judge Mark Campbell was hearing cases.
When Hamilton arrived for work on Aug. 10, Bates searched him, and no weapons were found. Bates interviewed Hamilton, and according to the affidavit, he admitted to carrying a loaded Smith & Wesson .40-caliber pistol into the jail the day before and also to the courtroom.
According to the affidavit, Hamilton said he carried the gun because someone tried to poison him by placing two ball-shaped objects in this car air conditioner, and that the objects almost made him fall asleep while driving. He also said two people had threatened him a couple of days earlier.
Bates said Hamilton was terminated immediately, and according to the affidavit, Sheriff Bill Sturch recommended that Hamilton be evaluated by mental health services. Hamilton, who is free on bond, has a preliminary hearing conference set Aug. 29. Carrying a weapon into jail is a felony that is punishable by 1-5 years in prison, and according to the sheriff’s office, Hamilton did not have authority to carry a pistol while employed as a confinement officer.