Deputies: Teen accused in mother's attack punches jailer


Charles Okonkwo, 18, of Dix Hills, is led out of Suffolk police headquarters in Yaphank for arraignment in Central Islip on Sunday, July 20, 2014. Photo Credit: James Carbone

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A Dix Hills man who admitted hurting his mother and his teenage brother, who was found dead at his family's home Saturday, may face new charges after authorities said he assaulted a correction officer at Suffolk County jail in Riverhead on Wednesday.

Charles Okonkwo Jr., who turns 19 Thursday, punched the male officer in the face shortly before 9 a.m., sheriff's Chief Michael Sharkey said. "He was noncompliant and he basically, unprovoked, punched the officer in the face," Sharkey said. The officer, who was not named, was taken to the hospital with minor injuries and released. Okonkwo injured one of his fingers in the attack, Sharkey said.

He said Okonkwo has been placed in disciplinary housing, meaning a higher level of supervision, fewer privileges and more confinement.

"When something like this happens, the inmates do face additional charges, and we take these things seriously," Sharkey said. "The safety of our officers is of the utmost importance to us."

Okonkwo's attorney, Eric Besso of Sayville, said Wednesday evening he had no knowledge of the attack.

Sharkey described attacks on correction officers by inmates as "not an everyday occurrence, but when it does happen, it's something we take very seriously."

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Okonkwo was charged Sunday with felony second-degree assault in his mother's beating, and could face additional charges in the death of his brother, whose body was found in his bedroom Saturday at the family's home on Norman Court, authorities said.

Okonkwo's father, Charles Okonkwo, 62, returned home about 6:10 p.m. Saturday from a stay at Huntington Hospital to find Bradley Okonkwo, 15, dead and the boys' mother, Chinwe Okonkwo, 52, unconscious in the garage in a pool of blood. Okonkwo Jr. on Sunday was ordered to be held on $250,000 cash, or $1 million bond. His next court appearance is set for Thursday.

With Sarah Armaghan and John Asbury

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