An inmate at the Park County Detention Center is facing criminal charges for starting a fight inside the facility.
Peter Welch, 39, was already in custody at the jail on a domestic battery charge, but is now facing another battery charge for punching fellow inmate Charles Kirk in the jaw.
It all happened during a Nov. 25 card game being played between four inmates at the jail.
According to Welch, the fight started when the two began arguing over which direction was north. After analyzing surveillance video, Park County Sheriff’s Deputy Carter Dunnam said Welch could be seen standing up and throwing his cards down, knocking over a cup in the process.
Welch then landed one punch on the left side of Kirk’s jaw. He attempted another swat at Kirk with his other arm but Kirk stood up and got out of the way. Putting Welch in a self-defense headlock, Kirk then de-escalated the fight.
Kirk complained of soreness and tenderness in his jaw when questioned by Dunnam. He is in custody on charges of manufacturing or delivering controlled substance marijuana, allegedly found with 19 capsules of brown vaporizer THC oil.
It was not mentioned in the affidavit as to which inmate, if either, was correct about the direction north.
The two inmates proceeded to return to their cells afterward without any further incident. Deputies did not respond to the fight until the event had already commenced.
It appears that Dennis Klingbeil, recently sentenced to life in prison for first-degree murder, was the individual who alerted deputies of what was happening via an intercom call button.
“He (Klingbeil) explained that inmate Welch had gotten upset when arguing with inmate Kirk about directions and got up from the table and hit inmate Kirk,” Dunnam wrote in the affidavit.
It was not mentioned in the affidavit as to who, if anyone, was correct about which way was north.
Fellow inmate Brett McKinley said he tried to break up the fight.
During the fight, McKinley said he heard Welch yell, “let me go” when put in the headlock.
To this Kirk replied, “no, stop hitting me.”
It was here the fight broke up. Both parties denied the fight occurring when first questioned by deputies.
After later admitting what had happened, Welch said he “lost it” and felt bad about hitting Kirk. He said he had been having trouble sleeping the last few weeks and his medications weren’t working, in addition to family problems.
“Therefore being on edge all the time,” Dunnam recounted.
Welch appeared in Park County Circuit Court on Nov. 27 and had his bond slightly increased to $28,500 by Judge Bruce Waters.