CONCORD — A New Hampshire man serving a life sentence for killing a Mont Vernon woman and maiming her daughter during a 2009 home invasion suffered facial bruises nine days ago in a fight in a recreation yard at the New Hampshire State Prison.
Christopher Gribble, 21, had only been out of the Special Housing Unit — maximum security where he had no contact with other prisoners — for three and a half hours on Oct. 13 when he was involved in a fist fight in the recreation yard of the closed custody unit, according to New Hampshire Department of Corrections spokesman Jeffrey Lyons.
Gribble had been in the state prison for 2 1/2 years, all of it in SHU except for those three and a half hours.
Lyons said Gribble suffered facial bruises in the incident, injuries which did not require a trip to the hospital.
Gribble was returned to SHU after the incident. Lyons said that is the normal procedure in any assault by or among prisoners: The victim and those involved temporarily are moved to the maximum security unit until an investigation is completed.
Lyons said he does not know if Gribble started the fight or if he was targeted by other prisoners.
Lyons said prison officials may never know what happened. He explained fist fights among prisoners, while not frequent, do happen at the prison, and investigating them can prove difficult because, oftentimes, the prisoners are uncooperative.
He said when there are skirmishes among prisoners resulting in minor injuries, usually the inmates are disciplined but don't face criminal charges.
Gribble was eligible to move out of maximum security, where prisoners are held in single cells and have no contact with other inmates, because of his improved behavior and because he followed the rules. In the closed security unit, prisoners have cell mates and additional privileges, Lyons explained.
Gribble and Steven Spader, who remains in the SHU, were given life sentences for murdering Kimberly Cates. Three others were sentenced for lesser crimes.