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Guard Socked for $37,500 in Vendetta

A federal jury awarded $37,500 to a Massachusetts prisoner who said a man he shot in the head in 1991 became a prison guard, sought him out, and became his worst nightmare.

Zeferino DePina, 24, claimed that prison officials did nothing while the guard, Filipe Monteiro, harassed and beat him at the maximum-security state prison at Walpole.

Seven years ago, DePina shot Monteiro in the head on a street in Boston. DePina claimed Monteiro and a group of friends had bullied him and tried to take his motorcycle. DePina pleaded guilty to assault and was sentenced in 1992 to 4-12 years.

Barely four months later, Monteiro began working for the DOC. A month later, he managed to get himself assigned to Walpole. DePina said Monteiro confronted him and asked, "Why did you have to shoot me?

"It's over and done with," DePina said he replied. "You go your way and I'll go mine-- I don't want any problems."

But DePina's problems were only beginning. Twice he says he was attacked by Monteiro, including one incident in a shower room where the guard punched him in the head and repeatedly threatened to kill him. Monteiro filed false disciplinary reports that got DePina transferred to the hole [disciplinary unit] and then transferred there himself where he continued to torment his captive victim. Monteiro flipped DePina's cell lights on and off during the night and kicked his cell door to prevent him from sleeping, according to the suit.

DePina testified that after he filed a complaint, the director of the prison disciplinary unit told him: "I don't know what you expect; you shot the guy in the head."

The jury ordered prison Superintendent Ronald Duval to pay $25,000. The director of the prison's disciplinary unit was ordered to pay $5,000. The jury found that both were "deliberately, recklessly or callously indifferent" to DePina's safety. Monteiro was ordered to pay $5,000. Another guard was ordered to pay $2,500. Prison officials vowed to appeal.

"The victim here was consistently Monteiro [the guard], the aggressor was DePina [the prisoner] every time," said Christopher Holliday, a DOC lawyer.

Anthony Carnivale, a DOC spokesperson, said there is no policy that would have prohibited Monteiro from working alongside a prisoner who once shot him.

Associated Press

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