Maryland officials: Inmate killed in altercation in exercise yard at Western Correctional Institution

CUMBERLAND — Authorities say a Maryland inmate is dead after violence involving a cluster of criminals on a prison exercise yard.

Maryland State Police said Sunday that 33-year-old inmate Herbert Mayes was dead where he fell inside the Western Correctional Institution in Cumberland.


Homicide investigators are looking into what happened Saturday afternoon when Mayes was involved in a scuffle involving six other inmates, who all were taken into police custody.

The man’s body is being autopsied to determine what killed him.


Mayes was serving a life sentence plus 20 years after he was convicted of first-degree murder and felony use of a firearm in the March 2012 fatal shooting of 59-year-old Chauncey Hardy.

Witnesses told police that Mayes and two other males were seen arguing with Hardy. Mayes pulled out a handgun from his waistband and shot Hardy, who fell to his stomach and was shot several more times, police wrote in charging documents.

Mayes ran southeast toward Ashland Court, disappearing from view, police said. Witnesses picked Mayes out of a lineup "without hesitation" and police wrote in court papers that city surveillance cameras corroborated their statements.

The year before Mayes was implicated in the East Baltimore shooting, he was acquitted in two cold-case rapes in which police said he was linked to the attacks by DNA. Prosecutors dropped the most serious charges and he was found not guilty at trial on lesser counts. In both cases, he had been accused of forcing a woman into an alley and raping her — once placing the victim in a chokehold, another time at knifepoint, The Baltimore Sun reported in 2012.

Baltimore Sun reporters Justin Fenton and Lillian Reed contributed to this article.