Prisoner Is Charged In Stabbing

Posted: December 28, 1990

A Holmesburg Prison inmate with a history of arrests was charged with murder in the stabbing death Wednesday of the son of the superintendent of Graterford Prison, who was serving time on a drug conviction.

Billy Brooks, 31, of the 1900 block of Herbert Court, Philadelphia, was charged with murder, possession of an instrument of crime and conspiracy, police said yesterday. He was being held without bail pending a preliminary hearing Jan. 2.

Brooks was accused of killing Eric Jerome Vaughn, 25, the oldest son of Donald T. Vaughn, superintendent of maximum-security Graterford, Pennsylvania's largest state prison.

Donald Vaughn, on vacation this week, declined to comment on the murder. Graterford spokesman A. J. LeFebvre said he was authorized to say only that it was "a personal tragedy for the superintendent and his family."

Holmesburg remained under strict lockdown yesterday, a security measure that went into effect soon after the killing and a flurry of beatings and stabbings among seven inmates that broke out after the killing. Officials said the incidents appeared to be related.

Inmates were restricted to their cells and visits were canceled while authorities continued to investigate the violence.

The younger Vaughn was serving a one- to two-year sentence for possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver, according to arrest records.

He was stabbed in the chest about 4:15 p.m. Wednesday during an argument over the theft of property from an inmate's cell, prison officials said.

Police said Brooks stabbed Vaughn with a knife made from metal pushrods used in sinks.

Brooks was described by Lt. Darryl Anderson, a Philadelphia prisons spokesman, as a "career criminal."

"He's been here most of the years I've been here," said Anderson, whose career at the prison stretches back to the mid-1970s.

Brooks' record includes 11 convictions on crimes ranging from assault and making terroristic threats to robbery and retail theft.

Eric Vaughn, of North Philadelphia, drew a six-month to one-year sentence for theft in August 1985 and a year's probation for theft and receiving stolen property in March 1987.

Two inmates were wounded by homemade knives in the fights that erupted after Vaughn's stabbing, prison officials said. Their names and conditions were not released.

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