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Inmate fatally stabbed at Tennessee courthouse while waiting to appear before judge

Deion Byrd, 25, was fatally stabbed Thursday morning at a Memphis courthouse while awaiting an appearance before a judge. Fellow inmate Donnie Clay, 21, was charged in his death.

A Tennessee inmate was fatally stabbed at a courthouse while waiting to appear before a judge and another inmate has been charged with murder, authorities said.

Deion Byrd, 25, was stabbed Thursday morning in a holding area of a Shelby County Criminal Court and hospitalized but was later pronounced dead, the Shelby County Sheriff's Office said on social media.

Another inmate, Donnie Clay, 21, was charged with murder and taking contraband into the jail, news outlets reported Friday. It wasn’t clear how a sharp object got through jail security.

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A commotion broke out shortly after multiple Shelby County Jail inmates were brought into the facility for separate court appearances before Judge Paula Skahan.

"I was just taking the bench and I heard yelling," Skahan said. "Anybody could have been attacked. I just don’t understand how this can happen."

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An affidavit says the commotion started when Byrd accused Clay of breaking into his home, which Clay denied, and then Byrd spit in Clay’s face.

"Clay said ‘I’m gonna kill you now’ and pulled a sharpened piece of metal from his waistband and chased Byrd into a nearby interview room a few feet away," the affidavit reads. Byrd was stabbed at least once in the neck, according to the affidavit.

Byrd's mother, Laquita Byrd, said she wants justice in her son's death.

"His life didn’t deserve to be taken like that," she said. "He’s gone and you are supposed to be in the safest place. You at 201 Poplar. All the metal detectors, all the sheriff’s deputies."

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