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Men accused of attacking inmate at Charlottesville jail have histories of violence

Of the two men charged in a bloody stabbing earlier this month at the Albemarle-Charlottesville Regional Jail, one is an accused murderer while the other was being held on robbery and shooting charges. The pair is accused of perpetrating a Dec. 8 attack on a third inmate that left their alleged victim with what an investigating officer predicted would be "permanent disfigurement."

The man accused of doing the stabbing is 25-year-old Tajuan Rahmeen Allen of Esmont, charged with malicious wounding. He’s accused of repeatedly stabbing fellow inmate 36-year-old Brian Thomas Draper 12 times in the head and upper torso while the two men were in a cellblock common area.

"As the two stood near each other Allen can be seen immediately and unprovoked attacking Draper repeatedly with what appears to be a sharp weapon in his hand," the investigating detective, identified as M.W. Baggett, wrote in a criminal complaint.

A member of the Albemarle County Police Department, Baggett reportedly viewed video of the incident.

"Allen uses an overhead stabbing motion," Baggett wrote. "At no point during the attack is Draper seen retaliating."

According to Baggett’s report, Draper was stabbed in the head, ears, neck, chest, back and shoulders.

"Draper can be seen," wrote Baggett, "with uncontrolled bleeding."

The detective asserted the video also shows fellow inmate 18-year-old Zayon Jamir Payne from Charlottesville, jumping into the fray himself after Allen hands him a weapon.

"Payne hides the weapon under his bunk mattress then walks away," wrote Baggett. "A few moments later Payne can be seen making movements which appear to [me] to be retrieving the weapon from where he hid it under his mattress, walking into the bathroom area out of view where the toilets are and then reappearing from the bathroom area with empty hands."

Baggett alleges that Payne later confessed to flushing the weapon.

While Allen has been charged with malicious wounding, Payne has been charged with being an after-the-fact accessory to the assault, a Class I misdemeanor carrying a potential sentence up to 12 months.

It’s not the first time Payne has been accused of violence.

He was previously accused of being the lead gunman in a May 16 Charlottesville shootout that shut down Preston Avenue, delayed dismissal of Charlottesville schools and left at least one car marked with bullet holes.

Those shooting charges against Payne were dismissed on Dec. 21 after the witness who allegedly identified him, 21-year-old Kyhiem Brancardius Kier, also charged in the incident, signaled he was unwilling to participate in court proceedings, according to Commonwealth’s Attorney Joe Platania.

“Unfortunately, as the date of Mr. Payne’s preliminary hearing approached, it became apparent that Mr. Kier was refusing to testify," Platania said. "With no other eyewitness testimony available to the Commonwealth, a decision was made to drop the charges."

Platania noted that Payne’s legal troubles have not ended, as the young man is slated to plead guilty in Charlottesville Circuit Court to an unrelated robbery where he is facing up to 10 years in prison.

"This case," Platania said, "illustrates the necessity and importance of eyewitness cooperation in order to ensure that individuals causing harm in our community are held accountable.”

As for Allen, the primary jailhouse assailant, his troubles run deeper.

Already convicted for pistol-whipping, choking and firing a gun at a female friend in her Turtle Creek apartment in 2016, Allen faces the possibility that the 12-plus years that were suspended from his sentence on malicious wounding and strangulation charges back then could be reimposed.

Moreover, Allen remains the suspect in the three-years-ago slaying of Dre’Shawn Rayvon McDonald, a 27-year-old Charlottesville man. McDonald was shot to death in the 900 block of South First Street on Nov. 5, 2020. Allen’s second-degree murder case, slowed by his extradition from his arrest site in Pennsylvania and by his own recent request for a delay, is now heading to an arraignment slated for Jan. 9.

Draper, whose most recent address was in Gulf Shores, Alabama, was in jail awaiting sentencing on an Oct. 24 firearm possession conviction. Witnesses said Draper was waving a gun at the EconoLodge on Holiday Drive on July 19.

"Mr. Draper told us that someone was pointing a rifle at him from across the street and that people were trying to kill him," wrote the investigating Charlottesville police officer.

Draper’s sentencing, set for Jan. 9, is slated to include testimony from the jail’s psychiatrist.


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