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Inmate accused of breaking broom over man's head

A Jackson County Jail inmate is facing assault charges after allegedly getting into an argument with another inmate and striking him in the head with a broomstick.

Brandon David Chipps, 36, of Grants Pass entered not guilty pleas Monday to charges of second-degree assault, fourth-degree assault and unlawful use of a weapon — the broomstick. He has a pre-trial conference hearing scheduled for July 17 in Jackson County Circuit Court.

According to an affidavit, Chipps got into an argument with inmate Johnny Nickey Marino on June 21. Witnesses said Chipps then "sucker punched" Marino and a fight ensued, which inmates broke up.

"Chipps then grabbed the broom, ran up behind Marino and swung the broom against the back of Marino's head with enough force to break it in two," the affidavit said.

Marino was taken to a hospital, where he received seven staples to the back of his head, the affidavit said.

The day before the jail incident, Chipps was arrested by Medford police for allegedly refusing to leave Angelo's Pizza on West Main Street, throwing rocks at employees and alarming patrons. When he was taken into custody, police say he spit all over the inside of the patrol car and kicked out the dome light. An inventory of his backpack revealed a meth pipe with residue that field-tested positive for the drug, an affidavit alleges.

For that case, Chipps entered not guilty pleas on June 28 to charges of harassment, second-degree criminal trespassing, second-degree disorderly conduct, second-degree criminal mischief and methamphetamine possession.

He is currently being held in jail on $225,000 bail.

In February, Chipps was convicted of second-degree disorderly conduct after Rogue River police responded to a report of two intoxicated men fighting along the Rogue River Greenway.

The day after the jail incident, Marino, the alleged victim of the broom assault, pleaded no contest to charges of unauthorized use of a vehicle and fleeing or attempting to elude a police officer. The charges date back to a March incident in which police say he ran a stop sign and tried to evade police until his vehicle died in an alley. The vehicle had been reported stolen, according to an affidavit and court records.

Marino, 42, of Ashland was sentenced to probation and 10 days in jail with credit for time served. He is no longer listed in jail, court and jail records show.

Reach staff reporter Vickie Aldous at 541-776-4486 or valdous@mailtribune.com. Follow her at www.twitter.com/VickieAldous.

Brandon Chipps