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Tennessee inmates free guard they took hostage for some cigarettes

The Associated Press

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. — Two inmates housed in a smoke-free prison traded a hostage for cigarettes after a six-hour standoff.

Billy Grubb, 32, and Bradley Johnson, 25, attacked the guard Monday night, said Howard Carlton, warden of the Northeast Correctional Complex.

"As the night progressed they started saying, 'Look, we'll give up if you let us have some tobacco. If you do that, we'll go back to our cell,'" Carlton said. "They got them some cigarettes, they smoked them and went back to their cell and locked themselves back in."

An investigation into how the inmates got out of their cell and their motive for attacking the guard continued Wednesday. Both are in prison for murder.

Prisons across the state are instituting no-smoking policies after the Legislature passed a law banning smoking in state buildings.

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