Inmate charged with trying to make knife

A Florida man held at the Bedford County Correctional Facility is facing charges after allegedly attempting to craft a knife out of a shampoo bottle.

Hugh Jeffrey Gilliam, 25, of Weirsdale is charged with two misdemeanor charges of making and procuring a weapon. He was first brought to the facility in November 2013, when he was arrested after being charged with burglary and criminal mischief in 2012 for an incident that allegedly occurred in 2009.

The burglary and mischief charges were dismissed last month because a judge determined his right to a speedy trial had been violated, according to court documents.

While awaiting trial, Gilliam was charged in February with institutional vandalism after he allegedly smashed an industrial light valued at $935, according to Deputy Warden Adam Henderson.

The new weapon-making charges stem from an incident in April, when a corrections officer at the prison heard scraping noises inside Gilliam’s cell. Upon investigation, the officer allegedly saw Gilliam holding a piece of plastic from a shampoo bottle folded to look like a knife, according to a police affidavit.

Gilliam was not permitted to have bottles in his cell. Henderson said Gilliam has had behavioral issues since his arrival.

“There’s always been times with him when we’ve had to manage him in a special way based on his behavior,” Henderson said.

After initially refusing, Gilliam surrendered the bottle to the officer. The affidavit said Gilliam claimed the bottle did not belong to him.

Henderson said he did not know how Gilliam obtained the bottle. Gilliam is sometimes held by himself in the cell, but there are times he could have been with other inmates, Henderson said. However, Gilliam has a history of attempting to fashion improvised weapons, Henderson said.

Henderson described Gilliam as “very creative” at making homemade knives, or “shanks.” On one occasion he allegedly tried to make one from a light fixture and another time shaved down the lens on his glasses to make a blade, Henderson said.

Henderson said charges were not filed for the previous incidents because they had been doing a good job of controlling Gilliam, but he had become enough of a safety threat that they had to charge him.

He is being held on $50,000 cash bail for the weapon-making charges. A preliminary hearing scheduled for Wednesday was continued and rescheduled for July 2.