James Buyard, 24, who has been charged with manslaughter after hitting a fellow inmate John Demoret, 25, who died. ADC

James Buyard, 24, was charged Monday with manslaughter after a string of fights culminated in Buyard punching fellow inmate John Demoret, 25.

Demoret died two weeks after the July 28 incident, on Aug. 10. The AP reported that the Arkansas State Police were not informed of the July 28 events for “nearly a week.”

Buyard claims it was self-defense.

The case, brought by Kyle Hunter, the prosecuting attorney for Jefferson County, relies on an affidavit by the investigating officer Huston Talley of the State Police.

According to video footage, after a fight with another inmate, Deon Williams, Demoret got a “piece of glass” from his rack and “began striking Inmate Williams.”


Williams told the investigator that he was stabbed in the back, neck and the left side of his head.

Six minutes later, Demoret got into another fight, with Joshua Thomas, which was broken up by fellow inmates.


Back at his bed 36 minutes later, as Demoret packed up his belongings, Buyard punched him. “Demoret fell to the ground and remained motionless,” says the affidavit.

Before the punch, Buyard said that “he could see something shiny in [Demoret’s] hand” and “hear Demoret breaking down a razor blade.” He says he acted in self-defense.

Both Thomas and Buyard said that Demoret was acting strangely and potentially under the influence.

Demoret was acting weird. He had been up for like a week. I thought he was on some Ice or K2,” investigators wrote in reference to their discussion with Thomas. (It is unclear if this is a direct quote of Thomas from the affidavit or paraphrasing.)


After the incident, Demoret was taken to UAMS via ambulance and then to the Ouachita River Unit in Malvern, where he died on Aug. 10.