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Three Arkansas Guards Sentenced in Beating

On August 22, 1999 Arkansas prisoner Terry Botts received a beating at the Arkansas Regional Unit in Brickeys by three guards while his hands were handcuffed behind his back. The guards determined the severity of the injuries he sustained would not require hospitalization, but Botts did suffer swelling and bruising on his face, and wrist.

Lieutenant Michael Bell, 62, Sergeant Brian Birtcher, and Scotty Bundren a prison guard were all sentenced with prison terms for their participation in the cowardly beating upon Terry Botts on August 30, 2001. The three guards were charged by federal prosecutors with violating Botts civil rights. All three guards pleaded guilty to the charges almost two years to the day after beating Botts. Michael Bell was sentenced to an 18 month prison term, fined $5,000, and 3 years probation out of a possible 24 to 30 month prison term. But prosecutors recommended a reduced sentence for his cooperation in testifying against his former colleague Brian Birtcher. His defense attorney Jeff Rosenzweig also added that his client was "extremely remorseful," and had ongoing regrets from his actions that was brought up in a separate hearing with the judge.

Scott Bundren received a sentence of a year and a day plus three years probation after he was granted the same plea-bargain for his cooperation in testifying against Birtcher. He also stated in his defense, "I didn't know what else to do. I had to play ball with them," because his codefendants outranked him.

Source: Arkansas Democrat Gazette

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