More than five years after they set two prisoners up to be raped, then concealed their crimes by falsifying documents and lying to investigators, five guards from California's Corcoran prison were indicted on October 8, 1998, by a Kings County grand jury, according to the Associated Press. Sgts. Robert Decker and Dale Brakebill, along with guards Joe Sanchez, Anthony Silva, and Lt. Jeffrey Jones, turned themselves in at the county jail in Hanford, where they were, except for Jones who had to post $25,000 bond, released without bail after booking.
Decker, Brakebill, Sanchez, and Silva are charged with forcing Eddie Dillard, then a prisoner in the Corcoran prison SHU, into the cell of his enemy, Wayne Robertson, to be raped. In interviews with state investigators, Robertson and other witnesses, gave graphic details of how prison guards used Robertson, known as the "Booty Bandit," to beat and forcibly sodomize other prisoners in return for extra food and tennis shoes.
Decker is also charged with threatening and intimidating Dillard in an attempt to keep him quiet about the rape, with fabricating documents to hide it, and with orchestrating the rape of a second prisoner, Melvin Davis, by Robertson in June 1993. Jones is charged with conspiracy after the fact to keep the crimes secret.
"This is the direct result of the (state) Senate hearings," Michael Rains, Jones' attorney, complained to the Sacramento Bee . A joint legislative committee heard testimony about abuses at Corcoran prison during a five day period last summer. "It's political in the extreme. This case was a focal point of those hearings." California Attorney General Dan Lungren, then Republican nominee for Governor, was accused of rushing to obtain indictments one month before elections to derail claims he scuttled earlier investigations into corruption at the notorious prison.
"We did a thorough and timely investigation," Lungren, soundly beaten by Democrat Gray Davis in the race for governor, told Bee reporters with a straight face. "This was the time at which the grand jury presentation concluded. And it was the time that the grand jury made its decision. For us to have tried to alter it in any way whatsoever would have been politicizing it. We did nothing of the kind."
The five guards were placed on administrative leave with pay according to Department of Corrections spokesman Tip Kindel. In April, 1998, eight other Corcoran guards were indicted by a federal grand jury for staging gladiator fights between rival prisoners and covering the incidents up. State and federal investigations into brutality at Corcoran and other California prisons continue and more indictments are anticipated.
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