Inmate accused of kidnapping, rape in incident at St. Martin jail

The inmate suspected of attacking and holding a guard hostage Monday at the St. Martin Parish Correctional Center is now accused of aggravated kidnapping and aggravated rape, a Sheriff’s Office official said.

Melvin Celestine held a guard in the jail’s laundry room and kept authorities at bay for 85 minutes until he surrendered, according to Maj. Ginny Higgins, St. Martin Parish sheriff’s public information officer.

“The inmate detained the correctional officer for a short period of time, and after a brief period of active negotiations with the inmate, at approximately 9:10 p.m. the situation was diffused and the incident was resolved peacefully,” Higgins said in a news release.

She said the ordeal lasted from 7:45 p.m. until 9:10 p.m.

Higgins said the guard was assaulted while being held hostage by Celestine, who had been in jail since June 10, 2011, on a Breaux Bridge breaking and entering charge. Celestine, 45, sustained what investigators said was a self-inflicted injury before he surrendered and let the hostage go, Higgins said in an email.

Higgins said that because of the on-going investigation, the Sheriff’s Office would not release the name or gender of the guard, or if they believe Celestine had a weapon.