Corrections officer charged in criminal sexual conduct case

 

Charles Deveaux, photo courtesy Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center
Charles Deveaux, photo courtesy Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) – A 54-year-old man has been charged with first degree criminal sexual conduct with a minor, and authorities say the victim was under 11 years of age.

Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott announced Thursday the arrest of 54-year-old Charles Deveaux, a correction officer at the Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center.

Sheriff Lott stated that the 10-year-old victim in this case reported on June 22nd to her mother that she was sexually assaulted by Deveaux.

Lott said the mother reported the assault to the sheriff’s department and investigators determined that the 10-year-old was assaulted by Deveaux.

Officials say Deveaux no longer works for Richland County.

Sheriff Lott said Deveaux turned himself in to investigators at 1pm Thursday, was charged with first degree criminal sexual conduct with a minor – victim under 11 years of age – and booked at the Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center.

source: http://www.wistv.com/global/story.asp?s=8767873

Former head of Illinois corrections sent to prison for 2 years for taking payoffs

CHICAGO (AP) _ Fighting back tears and apologizing to his teenage daughters, the former head of the Illinois prison system was sentenced to two years in federal prison for taking payoffs from lobbyists.

“What I did was absolutely wrong,” said Donald Snyder, who admitted pocketing $50,000 from lobbyists when he was director of the Illinois Department of Corrections.

He said he hoped his conviction on the charges would not bias employers against his daughters when they grow up and look for jobs. “I’m sorry, girls,” he said, turning to the bench where they were sitting.

Snyder, who pleaded guilty, also volunteered to be a federal witness, secretly recorded corrupt conversations and testified at the trial of one of the lobbyists.

Judge James B. Zagel chastised Snyder. “I didn’t believe much of your testimony and I didn’t believe much of your testimony because of your claimed lack of memory,” Zagel told him.

Snyder admitted that he took $30,000 from Larry Sims, a lobbyist for two vendors. He said he pocketed up to $20,000 from two other lobbyists, former Cook County undersheriff John Robinson and Michael J. Mahoney.

Sims and Robinson have pleaded guilty. Mahoney was acquitted in a bench trial before Zagel.

The case drew attention not only because of Snyder’s position but because Mahoney had lobbied the prison system while executive director of the John Howard Association, a prison reform organization.

Besides sentencing Snyder to two years in prison, Zagel ordered him to forfeit $50,000, the amount of the payoffs he pocketed, and perform 300 hours of community service at a rate of 20 hours a week.

Michael Metnick, Snyder’s lawyer, urged Zagel to consider the good job Snyder did in improving the state’s prison system, reducing the amount of gang violence.

But Assistant U.S. Attorney Joel Levin said that much of Snyder’s tenure as corrections director was marked by “waste, mismanagement, cronyism and abuse of office.”

Zagel said Snyder, who served as Illinois corrections director from 1999 through early 2003, diminished the stature of government officials by setting a terrible example and making people doubt their integrity.
source: http://www.newsday.com/news/nationworld/wire/sns-ap-corrections-sentence,0,3906306.story

Former Prison Guard Pleads In Fayette County Court

A former guard at the Mt. Olive prison has admitted helping an inmate escape.

FAYETTEVILLE- — Clarissa Johnson, 36, pleaded guilty to permitting the escape of a prisoner.

Police say Johnson allowed Robert Brady to escape from a work detail at the prison last November.

Brady was on the run for nearly two months before he was re-captured.

Johnson will be sentenced Sept. 15.

She faces one to five years in prison.

Brady goes on trial for the escape next week.

source: http://www.wvnstv.com/story.cfm?func=viewstory&storyid=41914

2 prison guards sentenced in suspected Mexican drug lord’s escape

MEXICO CITY – Mexican authorities say two prison guards have been sentenced to eight and 19 years in jail, respectively, for helping suspected drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman escape in 2001.

The federal Attorney General’s Office says Carlos Ochoa and Victor Godoy were guards at the Puente Grande federal prison in the western Mexican state of Jalisco when Guzman escaped. They were in charge of manning the prison’s gates.

The office announced the sentences in a statement issued Wednesday.

Guzman is the alleged leader of the Sinaloa cartel. Investigators say he escaped from Puente Grande in a laundry cart after bribing guards.

source: http://www.startribune.com/world/26118944.html?location_refer=World

Correctional Officer Arrested with ex-con on Drug Charges

 

On July 28, 2008 at 7:00 AM, Louisiana State Police – Troop D, Criminal Patrol Units stopped a 2007 Volkswagen Rabbit for a traffic violation on Interstate 10 near milepost 49 in Jefferson Davis Parish. The Volkswagen was occupied by the driver 28 year old LaQuatta Marie Felder of Houston, TX and a passenger 33 year old Joseph Hubert Harris of New Orleans, LA.

Troopers conducted a roadside interview and asked for a consent to search for the Volkswagen. LaQuatta Marie Felder refused to give consent. Utilizing a State Police K-9 unit, Troopers were able to search the Volkswagen and discovered 1.2 pounds of cocaine in a suitcase located in the trunk of the vehicle.

Troopers conducted an interview and learned that LaQuatta Marie Felder is employed as a correctional officer at the Darrington Penitentiary in Rosharon, TX and Joseph Hubert Harris was a former inmate at Darrington Penitentiary in Rosharon, TX. Felder and Harris were booked into the Jefferson Davis Parish Jail for Possession with Intent to Distribute Cocaine.

source: http://www.katc.com/Global/story.asp?S=8753432

Police investigate jail Taser death

Authorities are investigating the death of a man who officers shocked with a Taser in jail after a shoplifting arrest, a newspaper reported Tuesday.

 

The Statesville Record & Landmark reported that Anthony Dewayne Davidson, 29, of Statesville, died Sunday night after being taken off life support. Assistant Police Chief Tom Anderson said Davidson was arrested Saturday after a grocery store reported a shoplifting.

Anderson said at least one police officer and possibly a jailer used a Taser on Davidson during an altercation in a hallway near the magistrate’s office. A jail nurse recommended he be taken to a hospital and he later died.

Davidson’s family is questioning the man’s treatment. They say they have photos showing bruising on his face and lacerations on his head and hands.

Police are investigating the events surrounding Davidson’s death, Anderson said. The State Bureau of Investigation is conducting a separate review, as is the Iredell County Sheriff’s Office.

Davidson was arrested without incident, but exhibited odd behavior during the trip to the Iredell County Detention Center, Anderson said. After he saw a magistrate and was given a $500 bond, Davidson became uncooperative and aggressive, he said.

Anderson said officers believed Davidson was under the influence of an impairing substance.

A county sheriff’s deputy was injured in the scuffle, said Iredell County Sheriff Phil Redmond, adding that Davidson tried to run.

Davidson’s uncle, Jerry Moore, said his nephew was bruised on his face and had a knot over his right eye and questioned why a Taser was needed because his nephew was handcuffed. Moore showed the newspaper pictures he took of Davidson after he was pronounced dead.

“We just want the truth and it’s not being told,” Moore said. “One fall from a Taser doesn’t put that on your face.”

Anderson said an autopsy will be conducted this week.

He added that he was surprised by the death, which was the first one of someone shocked with a Taser since the city began using the devices in 2004.

“I hate it,” Anderson said. “It’s unfortunate.”

source: http://www.myrtlebeachonline.com/564/story/536347.html

Deputy’s trial to begin in inmate’s jail death

Prosecutors plan to use 90 photos from autopsy depicting injuries

In September 2006, barely a month after the death of Summit County Jail inmate Mark D. McCullaugh Jr., his father talked about the hardships of the funeral.

McCullaugh, 28, was so badly beaten in the face and other areas of the head, his father said, the casket had to be closed.

Now, nearly two years later, court records show that prosecutors plan to use 90 autopsy photographs — depicting external and internal views of numerous injuries to the upper and lower body — when they take the first of five sheriff’s deputies to trial for McCullaugh’s death.

Among those injuries, according to court records filed in May, were seven fractured ribs incurred during a violent struggle with the deputies in McCullaugh’s cell in the jail’s mental-health unit on Aug. 20, 2006.

The trial of deputy Stephen Krendick, 35, is set to begin Monday morning in Summit County Common Pleas Court before visiting Judge Herman F. Inderlied Jr. of Geauga County.

Krendick, who waived his right to a jury trial, faces the most serious charge in the deadly incident — one count of murder. If convicted, he could be sent to prison for 15 years to life.

He has pleaded not guilty in various court proceedings since his Sept. 7 indictment and is free on bond. Last month, Krendick
had his pay reinstated by Summit County Sheriff Drew Alexander.

The other deputies who were indicted — Brett Hadley, Brian Polinger, Dominic Martucci and Mark Mayer — are scheduled to go to trial before Inderlied later this year.

Defense experts

In an apparent attempt to counter the autopsy evidence in the government’s case, Krendick’s lawyers, Robert C. Baker of Akron and James M. Kersey of Cleveland, said in their trial brief that six medical experts will testify that the deputies were not at fault in McCullaugh’s death.

”The events which led to Mr. McCullaugh’s death were set in motion, not by Stephen Krendick and any of the other deputies, but by Mark McCullaugh,” the defense records say.

McCullaugh, 6-foot-2 and 306 pounds, according to autopsy evidence, died from sudden heart failure brought on by excited delirium from a psychotic condition for which he was no longer being treated, the defense contends.

One of the defense experts, renowned forensic pathologist Werner U. Spitz, will testify that McCullaugh ”died of a haywire heartbeat triggered by stress and agitation brought on by his psychotic condition, and further, that his heart could not stand the workload,” the records say.

Spitz, former chief medical examiner of Wayne and Macomb counties in Michigan and a professor of pathology at Wayne State University in Detroit, testified in the O.J. Simpson wrongful death trial and at congressional investigations into the assassinations of President John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr.

Prosecutors’ exhibits

In all, prosecutors documented 215 exhibits of potential evidence against Krendick in their 33-page trial brief.

Those exhibits will show there was a violent struggle with the deputies in McCullaugh’s cell, and that during the struggle, the prosecution brief alleges, McCullaugh was beaten, stomped, kicked, placed in handcuffs and leg shackles in a ”hog-tying” position and then shot by Krendick with a Taser stun gun.

”Even after participating in the forceful restraint and hog-tying of McCullaugh, and after leaving the cell for between . . . 25 and 30 minutes, Krendick continued his assault on McCullaugh,” the trial brief says.

”Returning to the cell and finding McCullaugh subdued,” the brief says, ”Krendick expressed a desire to apply [pepper spray] to the prisoner.”

Krendick then sprayed an entire 16-ounce can of pepper spray ”across McCullaugh’s buttocks, back and back of his head,” the trial brief says.

After McCullaugh was shackled — but before being pepper-sprayed — those records also indicate that he was injected by a jail nurse with what was described as a ”two-drug cocktail” in a further effort to calm him down.

McCullaugh was pronounced dead at 7:46 that night at Akron General Medical Center.

Report challenged

Initially, Summit County Medical Examiner Lisa J. Kohler ruled the death a homicide.

That ruling was based on the autopsy findings of her chief assistant, forensic pathologist George Sterbenz, who determined that the cause of death was asphyxiation from multiple forms of restraint and blunt-force blows, including an unspecified anal injury.

But in a May 2 Summit County civil court ruling, visiting Judge Ted Schneiderman ordered Kohler to change the manner of death in McCullaugh’s autopsy report from ”homicide” to ”undetermined.”

Schneiderman’s order followed a four-day trial in which Kohler’s report was challenged by lawyers from Taser International Inc. and the city of Akron.

There was ”simply no medical, scientific or electrical evidence to support the conclusion that the Taser . . . . . . had anything to do” with McCullaugh’s death or with two other unrelated deaths involving confrontations with area police, Schneiderman said in his order.

Krendick’s lawyers subsequently filed a motion to dismiss the charges against all of the deputies, contending that Schneiderman’s ruling tainted the original evidence on which the grand jury indictments were based.

But Inderlied denied that motion, saying the indictments were ”not evidence” and ”nothing more than a charging document.”

Other testimony

University of Akron law professor J. Dean Carro, president of the Akron Bar Association, said the prosecution’s case for proving murder without an official finding of homicide is not necessarily more difficult.

”You can prove causation with other information,” Carro said. ”You don’t have to rely solely on the autopsy report.”

In what might be the most damaging evidence against Krendick, case records show, the prosecution will offer testimony from other deputies who told investigators they saw Krendick ”standing on the bunk stomping on McCullaugh’s head with his boot.”

One of those deputies, Keith Murray, ”said that Krendick stomped on McCullaugh’s head five or six times.”

Nevertheless, prosecutors said in their trial brief that, if they are unable to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Krendick is guilty of murder, lesser charges of involuntary manslaughter and aggravated assault warrant consideration by the judge.

”What the state is saying there is: ‘We don’t know what the evidence is absolutely going to turn out to be,’ ” Carro said. ”The facts drive whether you get the lesser [charges] included.”

Assistant Cuyahoga County prosecutors John R. Kosko and Brian M. McDonough, who were appointed as special prosecutors, will handle the government’s case.

Summit County Prosecutor Sherri Bevan Walsh asked Cuyahoga County to take the case last year to avoid possible conflicts of interest.
source: http://www.ohio.com/news/25954554.html?page=3&c=y

Probe under way after inmate event questioned

MADISON, Wis. (AP) – An investigation is under way after five Wisconsin correctional officers took inmates from a boot camp for alcoholics and drug addicts to an event where alcohol was served.

The probe began after a drug treatment counselor complained that allowing the inmates to get near alcohol was a setback to their treatment. Counselor Mark Nelson of Prairie Farm alleges he was pushed out of his job after he filed his complaint, though a Department of Corrections spokesman denies any retaliation.

The inmates were taken to hear a motivational speaker June 17th.

Officials at the St. Croix Correctional Center approved the jaunt for the inmates, saying they were closely supervised and couldn’t get alcohol.

source: http://www.wbay.com/global/story.asp?s=8742799

New Jersey Corrections Officer Charged With Drug Trafficking

NEWARK, N.J. — A veteran Newark prison guard was charged with leading a half million dollar drug ring that bought cocaine in Texas and Florida and distributed it in New Jersey, authorities said Thursday.

 Officials said they began investigating senior corrections officer Eugene Braswell last August when outside his Newark home he fatally shot a former inmate paroled from Northern State Prison.

 Braswell, 29, had worked at Northern State but there is no evidence that he had sold drugs there, authorities said

The dead parolee, Waliford Williams, 34, had served time for drug dealing and had allegedly shot Braswell in the ankle as he sat on his porch, authorities said. Braswell, a prison guard for the past decade, returned fire and fatally struck Williams twice, once in the neck, officials said.

 Braswell and three alleged accomplices were arrested Thursday while two others had been picked up earlier in the month, officials said.

 A search of his home and car found $16,000 in cash and a .357 magnum, authorities said.

 “This was a lengthy and diligent investigation that began as a result of the shooting incident last summer involving a state correction officer who was sworn to uphold the law but instead broke the law by running a massive and illegal drug trafficking operation,’’ Attorney General Anne Milgram said.

 Braswell has been charged with leading a narcotics network, other drug charges, money laundering and conspiracy. Bail was set at $500,000.

source: http://www.wnbc.com/news/16980785/detail.html

Federal prison guards indicted

ASHLAND — Two correctional officers at the United States Penitentiary Big Sandy in Inez have been indicted by a federal grand jury in Ashland on charges of conspiracy to violate the civil rights of an inmate.

Larry Ray Miller, Jr., 32, of Hazard, and Christopher Fallen, 25, of Campton, are charged with conspiracy to violate the civil rights of a Big Sandy inmate, aiding and abetting each other in violating the inmate’s rights and providing an inmate with a pocket knife.

According to the indictment, the two officers conspired to punish an inmate confined to the Special Housing Unit at the penitentiary. Reasons for placing an inmate in SHU include violations of Bureau of Prisons internal rules and regulations pertaining to inmate conduct.

Larry Ray Miller, Jr. was listed as the number one officer assigned to the evening watch of the SHU. According to the indictment, he had supervisory authority over other correctional officers on his watch and was responsible for the management, custody, care, and safety of the inmates in the SHU.
On Dec. 30, 2007, Miller allegedly learned that the inmate, listed in the indictment only as “M.L.T.,” had assaulted a correctional officer during a forced cell extraction on the previous day. Miller allegedly cursed at M.L.T., banged on his cell door and told him that he could have him assaulted or killed for a carton of cigarettes. Miller also allegedly threw a bucket of mop water under the cell door and soaked M.L.T.’s bedding and clothing.

The indictment also lists an incident on the same day where Miller allegedly made a show of cleaning his fingernails with his pocket knife in view of M.L.T

Kevin Christopher Fallen was listed as the number two officer assigned to the evening watch of the SHU. His duties included the management, custody, care and safety of the inmates in the SHU.

According to the indictment, Fallen entered M.L.T.’s cell on the same day and presented a pocket knife to him, in violation of BOP procedures.

Miller and Fallen face a maximum prison sentence of 25 years if found guilty of the charges. For the counts of violating an inmate’s civil rights and aiding and abetting each other in the violation of those rights, they can receive not more than 10 years of imprisonment, a $250,000 fine and not more than three years of supervised release. For the charge of proving an inmate with a pocket knife, they can receive not more than five years of imprisonment, a $250,000 fine, and not more than three years of supervised release.

Miller and Fallen are scheduled to appear for their initial arraignment in Pikeville on July 31.

source: http://www.floydcountytimes.com/articles/2008/07/18/news/doc4881004d6f049081461560.txt

Prison officer indicted on hot water charge

TAMPACLEARWATER LAKELAND JACKSONVILLE TALLAHASSEE – A former Florida State Prison correctional officer has been indicted by a federal grand jury on civil rights charges for allegedly pouring hot water on an inmate in 2005.

The indictment by a federal grand jury in Jacksonville against Paul Tillis was announced Thursday by the Justice Department. If convicted, Tillis could be sentenced to 10 years in prison.
source: http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/local/florida/sfl-flfladig07253sbjul25,0,1770852.story?track=rss

County jailer accused of having sex with girl, 15

GREAT FALLS, Mont. (AP) – An 18-year-old Cascade County jailer has been charged with sexual intercourse without consent after a 15-year-old girl told police he had sexual contact with her.

Zachary Henrie appeared in court yesterday. Court documents say the girl told police Tuesday that Henrie took her from her house Sunday night and had sexual contact with her at another location in Great Falls

Under state law, anyone under the age of 16 cannot give legal consent to sexual activity.

Sheriff David Castle confirmed yesterday that Henrie was a jailer with the Cascade County Sheriff’s Office.

source: http://www.montanasnewsstation.com/global/story.asp?s=8726961

Two Correction Officers Are Indicted

Two corrections officers are indicted for allegedly threatening an inmate and bringing knives into a federal prison.

The men indicted are officers at the Big Sandy Federal Prison in Martin County.

WYMT’s Angela Sparkman spoke with one of them in Perry County.

Larry Miller, 32, of Hazard says he is suspended without pay.

Prison officials tell us Kevin Christopher Fallen, 25, of Campton is also facing suspension.

A federal grand jury returned indictments against both men on Tuesday.

They charged the corrections officers with violating the rights of a Big Sandy inmate and providing an inmate with a pocket knife.

In an exclusive interview with WYMT, Miller says he didn’t do anything wrong.

Larry Miller says he has plenty of scars from December 30th.

Miller says he’s been off work and on worker’s compensation ever since he claims an inmate attacked him.

Now he’s suspended from work after a federal grand jury indicted him and another corrections officer, Kevin Christopher Fallen on accusations they brought pocket knives into the prison and allegedly violated an inmate’s rights by threatening or hurting him.

“It just happens that night we were in the wrong place at the wrong time,” Miller said.

Miller claims the inmate assaulted other corrections officers the day before.

The indictment says the next day, Miller was angry about it and told the inmate he could have him killed, and threw mop water at him.

The indictment also claims he showed a knife to the inmate.

Miller won’t answer questions about those allegations.

“That’s something I really can’t discuss with everything going in the trial,” Miller said.

Miller claims the inmate attacked Fallen and him with a knife when they opened his door to give him food.

“We’re the ones going through surgeries. How can they attempt to charge us with a crime when we’re the ones the crime is committed against?”

Officials with the U.S. Attorney’s office and the Prison say they can’t discuss the allegations or indictments because of pending court proceedings.

Miller is waiting for his day in court.

Miller and Fallen are scheduled for arraignment July 31st in federal court in Pikeville.
Officials cannot release any information about the inmate.
source: http://www.wkyt.com/wymtnews/headlines/25523209.html

5 prison guards charged with smuggling drugs

MIAMI — Five guards at a Miami-Dade County prison are charged with smuggling drugs into the facility.

 

Federal indictments also charge them with taking cash from inmates in return for helping to deliver the drugs inside the prison.

They were arrested Friday. The guards worked at Dade Correctional Institution in Florida City, about 28 miles north of Miami.

A kitchen employee at the prison and several inmates were also charged.

Prosecutors say the arrests were part of an FBI investigation called Operation Birdcage. An undercover officer posed as a drug dealer and sold cocaine and heroin to the guards.

They face a maximum 20-year sentence on each charge and a $250,000 fine if convicted.

source: http://news-press.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080718/NEWS01/80718046/1075

Deputy Jailed On Rape, Kidnapping Charges

Jason Bill Abducted Woman From Restaurant, Investigators Say

 

MARIETTA, Ga. — A Cobb County sheriff’s deputy was fired Tuesday after he was charged with rape and kidnapping.

 

Investigators said Jason Anthony Bill, 37, abducted a woman from a restaurant Monday night and sexually assaulted the victim at his apartment.

 

Bill was also charged with aggravated sodomy, aggravated assault, false imprisonment and battery.

source: http://www.cbs46.com/news/16896622/detail.html?rss=lnta&psp=news

Prison officer charged over contraband

 

A prison officer has been before Dublin District Court charged in connection with an investigation into the sale and supply of contraband to prisoners in Mountjoy Prison.

Dillon O’Brien from Clonsilla in Dublin is charged with 14 offences between January 2005 and March 2007.

The 36-year-old is charged with bringing mobile phones, vodka, and heroin into Mountjoy and with having cocaine in his possession on 15 March 2007.

Garda David Carolan gave evidence that Mr O’Brien was arrested at 6.50am this morning.

The court was told that the DPP has directed that he be sent forward for trial at the Circuit Criminal Court. He was remanded on his own bail of €1,000.

He also has to sign on three times a week at Blanchardstown Garda Station.

He will be brought before the court again on 26 August when the Book of Evidence is due to be complete.

Four more men have also been charged in connection with the sale and supply of contraband in the prison.

30-year-old Sean Hinchon and his 28-year-old brother Thomas, both from Clondalkin in Dublin each face three charges of conspiring with prison officer Dillon O’Brien to bring heroin into Mountjoy between 1 January 2005 and 15 March 2007.

They also each face three charges of bringing a mobile phone into the prison on or between the same dates.

27-year-old Paul Dixon from Finglas faces six charges of possessing for sale or supply ecstasy, cannabis resin and cocaine in a cell at Mountjoy Prison.

32-year-old Nigel Curran from Blanchardstown faces two charges of stealing hairdressing products and Ventolin inhalers from a company in City West between 20 February 2007 and 3 April 2007.

All four were released on bail to appear in court again on 29 July.

source:

Hennepin County Deputy among 2 arrested in drug probe

MINNEAPOLIS — A nurse and her husband, a sheriff’s deputy, have been arrested as part of a probe of the theft of narcotics from the Hennepin County Jail.

The sheriff’s office says the investigation started when a nurse at the Hennepin County Medical Center tipped them that a co-worker was stealing drugs from the jail.

Investigators found enough evidence to make an arrest. She’s being held in the Hennepin County Jail.

A search of her house in Burnsville led to the arrest of her husband, a Hennepin County sheriff’s deputy. He’s being held in the Dakota County Jail.

Prosecutors have not filed formal charges against either of them. The sheriff’s office says in a Wednesday news release that its investigation is continuing.

SOURCE: http://www.kare11.com/news/news_article.aspx?storyid=519018

Officer Accused Of Groping Female Inmates

Corrections Officer Charged With Sexual Assault

GALLATIN, Tenn. — A Sumner County corrections officer was fired in the wake of claims that he groped two female inmates.

 

Elvis Wade was arrested on Monday and charged with sexual battery.

 

A sheriff’s department representative said the department has been investigating Wade for a few weeks.

 

According to a police affidavit, Wade touched women in the jail inappropriately and tried to bribe them so they wouldn’t complain.

source: http://www.wsmv.com/news/16892403/detail.html

Trial begins for ACI guards charged with assaulting inmates

PROVIDENCE — Testimony began this week in the trial of two former correctional officers who are charged with assaulting inmates at the state’s minimum-security prison.

Capt. Gualter Botas, 39, of Pawtucket, faces seven counts of simple assault involving four inmates, and Lt. Kenneth J. Viveiros, 56, of North Providence, faces four counts of simple assault involving three of the same inmates.

This fall, Botas is expected to return to court to be tried in another inmate-abuse case in which he is accused of forcing a prisoner to taste his own feces.

During Superior Court testimony on Wednesday and Thursday, former inmate Matthew S. Gumkowski testified that Botas “sucker-punched” him after he made a vulgar suggestion to the captain on June 8, 2005.

At the time, Gumkowski, 27, of East Greenwich, was serving sentences on drug delivery and weapon possession charges, and he was caught with a $20 bill at the minimum-security facility. Paper currency is prohibited at the prison unless inmates are on work release.

Gumkowski said he was brought into Gotas’ office in handcuffs and told to sit at a desk. He said Gotas began questioning him about where he got the $20 bill, insisting that the money came from a visitor.

Gumkowski said he kept responding that the $20 had already been in the prison. “I finally got sick of him talking to me,” he testified. So he made a vulgar suggestion to Gotas.

The captain then punched him from behind, Gumkowski said. “I couldn’t see it coming at all,” he said.

Gumkowski said the punch landed near his right eye and cheek bone and he began bleeding. “It was split open,” he said. “He threw some napkins at me and said, ‘Go ahead and do something and I’ll call a code.’ ”

Special Assistant Attorney General Molly K. Cote asked what calling a code means. “If I was trying to fight with him, he’d call for backup,” Gumkowski said.

Gumkowski said Botas told the prison nurse that he had dropped a weight on himself.

Gumkowski said he was left with a “small scar” on his face, and he stood before members of the jury, pointing out the scar.

Cote asked if he made any effort to report what happened to authorities. “No,” Gumkowski said. “I had a parole coming up and I didn’t want to interfere with the hearing on parole.” He said the state police interviewed him about seven months after the alleged assault.

During cross-examination, John D. Lynch Jr., the lawyer for Botas, asked Gumkowski if he works out. “I do,” he said. Lynch asked if Gumkowski had told correctional officers that he had the $20 to buy workout belts. “No,” he said.

Lynch asked Gumkowski if he had injured himself with a barbell. “No,” he said. Lynch also asked Gumkowski if he had told the nurse he injured himself with a barbell. “I didn’t tell her that,” he replied.

Both Lynch and Olin W. Thompson III, the lawyer for Viveiros, zeroed in on how Gumkowski obtained the $20 bill. Lynch asked if the $20 was found after Gumkowski had visited with his girlfriend in the prison yard. Gumkowski said that visit had been earlier in the day, and he said he got the $20 by selling cigarettes to another inmate. When Lynch asked which inmate, Gumkowski said, “I don’t know.” Lynch asked, “Do you not want to tell me?” Gumkowski said, “Correct.”

Gumkowski indicated that being found with the $20 marked the first time he had been “booked” for violating prison rules, but Lynch pointed out that he had been also booked for “willful destruction of property” in prison in 2003.

Lynch noted Gumkowski had violated the terms of prior sentences, saying, “When you were sentenced, you promised to keep the peace and be of good behavior. Did you do that?” Gumkowski said, “No.” Lynch said, “You promised to tell the truth here today. Are you doing that?” Gumkowski said, “I am.”

At another point, Cote asked Gumkowski if he was aware of penalties inmates can face for violating prison rules. “Yes,” he said. Cote then asked, “Have you ever heard of assault by a captain being a valid punishment for a booking?” Defense lawyers objected to that question.

Testimony is scheduled to resume Tuesday before Superior Court Judge Daniel A. Procaccini. The trial, which is expected to last three to four weeks, also will include charges that Botas and Viveiros assaulted three other inmates: Robert Houghton, Anthony Romano and Jose Gonzalez.

In February 2007, District Court Judge Madeline Quirk found Botas, Viveiros and correctional officer Ernest Spaziano guilty of assaulting Gonzalez, an inmate who was serving a sentence on a drug conviction. The three officers appealed their convictions to Superior Court. Spaziano, 40, of Burrillville, was the first to go to trial in Superior Court, and earlier this year he was found not guilty of assaulting Gonzalez.

Now, Botas and Viveiros are receiving a Superior Court trial. Originally, the trial was to include allegations that Botas forced inmate Michael Walsh to taste his own feces.

But Michael J. Healey, a spokesman for the attorney general’s office, said Procaccini granted a defense motion to sever that allegation from the others. He said the judge told prosecutors they could either try all the allegations at once while not using evidence that Walsh was “allegedly made to eat his own feces” — or they could use that evidence and try the Walsh allegation separately. Prosecutors chose to have a separate trial.

“The judge’s rationale is he found that evidence in the Walsh allegation was too inflammatory regarding Mr. Viveiros,” Healey said. “It could affect Mr. Viveiros’ right to a fair trial.”

The Department of Corrections fired Botas and Viveiros, and it stopped paying them on Feb. 12, 2007, department spokeswoman Tracey Z. Poole said yesterday.

Richard Ferruccio, president of the Rhode Island Brotherhood of Correctional Officers, said the Department of Corrections is refusing to put Spaziano back to work although he was acquitted. Once the trials are done, the union will pursue arbitration to get Spaziano back on the job, and it will do the same for Botas and Viveiros if they are acquitted and want to return to work, he said.

source: http://www.projo.com/news/content/aci_guards_trial_07-12-08_THAQCAQ_v40.3bedb8e.html

Deputies to interview Miller County jail guards

TEXARKANA, Ark. — Miller County jail guards on duty the night six men escaped will be interviewed by deputies trying to find out how a hacksaw was smuggled into the facility, officials said Thursday.

Chief Deputy Tommy Hollin told the Texarkana Gazette newspaper that officials believe a guard snuck the hacksaw inside at the request of inmates. Hollin said guards also conducted a shakedown at the troubled jail Thursday, but declined to say what officers found.

Thursday, workers continued installing expanded metal grating over the jail’s windows to stop inmates from escaping. Hollin said workers also began installing new security cameras on higher mounts throughout the jail. Older cameras had become targets for inmates using broomsticks or blankets to disable them.

Hollin said the new cameras will be encased in tough glass and can be rotated to show several views.

“If you shot it with a .45, you couldn’t bust the glass on it,” the chief deputy said.

Hollin said about half the surveillance cameras in the jail don’t work, and that the Miller County Quorum Court is reluctant to approve bids to install new security equipment because a new sheriff, Ron Stovall, is to take office Jan. 1.

“This is an emergency,” Hollin said. “You don’t need to get bids to take care of an emergency.”

Deputies said two inmates remained missing Thursday afternoon: Bennie Ray Johnson, 23, of Bradley, Ark., who faces charges of aggravated robbery and second-degree battery; and Anthony Michael Brown, 30, of Texarkana, Texas, who faces charges of theft, burglary and failure to appear in court.

Deputies on Wednesday captured escapees Jeffrey Dean Smith, 36, of Texarkana, Texas; Codarrius Morris, 20, of Texarkana, Ark.; and Kenneth Dewayne Riley, 40, of Wilton, Ark., who faces an 80-year prison sentence for an aggravated robbery conviction as a habitual offender.

Victor Threadgill also escaped Tuesday but was caught in the jail yard, authorities said. Threadgill recently pleaded guilty to murdering an Ashdown car salesman and is awaiting transfer to a state prison.

The four captured inmates appeared before a judge Thursday. Miller County Circuit Judge Jim Hudson set bail for the men at $200,000 apiece.

source: http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/ap/tx/5881863.html