courtesy of Howell County Sheriff’s Office

Inmate attacks jailer at Howell County Jail

A female inmate made an ill-fated attempt to escape custody and now faces two additional felony charges. 
Initially in custody after fleeing a traffic stop on August 24, in which she narrowly avoided running over two police officers, Staci Margheim, 51, of Hot Springs, SD, attacked a jailer in the Howell County Jail. 
According to court documents, Margheim had been escorted from a restroom back to the booking area in the early morning hours of August 30. She “quickly and violently” swung the booking area gate into the female jailer, pushing it against the victim’s body as far as she could. Running around the end of the gate, Margheim began striking the jailer, slamming her to the floor, and striking her head on a steel door. She could be observed trying to take the jailer’s keys, and the assault continued until the parties could be separated. 
The victim was transported to Ozarks Healthcare for treatment. As of September 8, the jailer was medically released back to light duty, confirms Howell County Sherriff Brent Campbell. 
The accused had multiple contacts with local law enforcement. In addition to the pursuit and the attempted assault on August 24, court documents reference another pursuit with a Howell County Deputy and Margheim’s failure to appear in court in relation to these matters. It was during the booking process for the failure to appear warrant that the assault occurred. 
According to Sheriff Campbell, this incident is the latest symptom of a worsening problem with public disrespect of law enforcement. 
“This is a consistent issue,” Sheriff Campbell said, “not only with these types of cases, but I've seen it with burglaries and other major felony cases. Needless to say, it's a constant fight to help keep law enforcement’s morale elevated with the climate we operate in today. It's even harder when issues like this happen [that are the equivalent of a] spit in the face of my employees. They have to ask… ‘why am I out here risking my life’?”
On August 31, the defendant pled not guilty to the charges regarding the August 24 assault and pursuit. On September 6, Judge R. David Ray set Margheim’s bond at $150,000. A motion to reduce the bond was denied. 
Charges of first-degree assault of a special victim and attempted escape from confinement by striking a person were filed on September 7. 
As of press time, the accused remains in custody. 
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