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State investigating Concord prison assault involving former BOWW gang member

Corrections and state police officials are investigating an assault last summer at the Concord prison that may have been part of a plan by white supremacist gang members to target a former ally.

The attack occurred in mid-August and left inmate Matthew York, 26, with “multiple facial” injuries, said prison spokesman Jeff Lyons. Lyons declined to detail the incident, citing the inquiry, but said York was moved to the prison’s medical wing to be treated.

York’s wife, Kelly York, said the damage was so severe that doctors had considered reconstructive surgery. In an interview last week, she said she first learned of the assault from another inmate, who phoned and said her husband was dead. She said York spent nine days in the hospital before being moved to the prison’s medical unit, and was later transferred to a county jail for protective purposes.

York was previously a member of a local prison gang called the Brotherhood of White Warriors, Kelly York said, and had been targeted by its members in the weeks leading up to the assault. She said a rift had formed when York tried to sever ties with the group.

Kelly York said she began frantically calling prison officials early last week after learning they had returned York to the Concord facility, despite existing threats on his life. The gang issued a “TOS” – “terminate on sight” – directive for her husband, she said.

No criminal charges have been brought in the attack, and Lyons declined to comment on possible suspects or what, if any, ties York has to the gang, commonly called BOWW. He said the state police and the state Prison Investigations Unit have opened a criminal investigation.

Lyons did say that York was transferred last Tuesday to a prison in Massachusetts. He would not discuss the reasons for the move. Lyons also said York had been housed in the close custody unit at the time of the attack.

York was released from prison in 2009 and returned in June after theft and various other convictions, according to prison records.

(Jeremy Blackman can be reached at 369-3319, or on Twitter @JBlackmanCM.)

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