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Florida Jail Guard Found Guilty in Prisoner's Death

On December 22, 1998, former Osceola County, Florida jail guard Greg Wilson was convicted of manslaughter in connection with the March 1997 death of prisoner Daniel B. Sagers.

Wilson and several other guards, including Wilson Santiago and Gail Edwards, were trying to place Sagers in a restraining chair after he became assaultive. "His feet and one hand were still cuffed to the chair," said Santiago, who testified for the prosecution. "One officer was punching and kicking him in the stomach. Another had him by the hair and Officer Wilson was pulling his head back with a towel that he wrapped around Sagers' mouth area."

Santiago said he tried to find a supervisor to stop the abuse but none was nearby. A jail nurse testified that Sagers turned blue while he was being restrained, and that Wilson kept using the towel after she advised him to stop.

According to a medical examiner Wilson's use of the towel to forcefully pull Sagers' head back caused a brain stem injury that resulted in a coma, which led to Sagers death a week later.

Wilson was fired following the fatal incident and he, Santiago and Edwards were later indicted. Only Wilson went to trial. Santiago pleaded no contest to a battery charge and was ordered to serve 50 hours of community service and atttend an anger management course; Edwards pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor in April 1998 and was sentenced to one year on probation.

Sagers' family filed a wrongful death suit against Osceola County officials and received a $2.7 million settlement.

The Orlando Sentinel

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