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California Prison Guard Gets Time For Setting Up Prisoner Beating

On February 17, 2005, a former guard at Salinas Valley State Prison (SVSP), who set up a gang -initiated attack on a prisoner, was sentenced in Monterey Superior Court to two years and eight months in state prison.
On November 17, 2004, former guard Leon Holston took a deal for filing a false report and for assault with force likely to produce great bodily injury. In exchange, the Monterey County District Attorney agreed to a maximum four year sentence and to drop three other charges. Holston's convictions stem from an August 14, 2003 attack on prisoner Tillis" that Holston helped arrange. Holston was in charge of a cellblock housing members of a San Francisco street gang, who beat Tillis unconscious. Holston also allegedly aided the gang members communicate with other gang members both in and outside of SVSP (the dropped charges).

In the week prior to Holston's plea bargain, nine other SVSP guards were formally fired in connection with the beating of prisoner Rafael Serrano in October, 2003. The nine guards were implicated in the Green Wall" code of silence guards' gang at SVSP. [See prior issues of PLN for details on guard gang activities in California prisons.]

At sentencing, Holston apologized to the court, his family and the California Department of Corrections. No mention was made of victim Tillis.

Source: Monterey Herald.

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