Skip navigation
× You have 2 more free articles available this month. Subscribe today.

News in Brief

California: Reggie Alcantar, 31, was charged with felony battery and elder abuse on May 14, 2013 following an incident at the popular Tom’s Farms attraction near Corona. An investigation determined that Alcantar pushed a 71-year-old security guard to the ground, causing him to suffer a broken wrist. Alcantar was placed on paid administrative leave from his job as a guard at the Robert Presley Detention Center in Riverside; he had been employed with the Sheriff’s Department since 2006.

Colorado: On May 23, 2013, Matthew Andrews, 36, resigned from his position as a sheriff’s deputy; he faces felony charges for helping a prisoner escape from the Downtown Denver Detention Center in April. Surveillance video showed Andrews and prisoner Felix Trujillo, both dressed in deputy’s uniforms, getting on an elevator and leaving the facility together. Andrews said he then drove Trujillo to a waiting getaway car. Andrews reportedly told co-workers that he helped Trujillo, 24, walk out of the jail because he received an anonymous phone call threatening him and his family unless he facilitated the escape. He has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Colorado: Federal prisoner Gary Anthony Cole, 49, filed a lawsuit from his cell in Florence, Colorado against Taco Bell, owned by Yum Brands; Frito-Lay, which owns Doritos; and PepsiCo. The lawsuit, filed on May 15, 2013 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas, claims that the wildly popular Taco Bell Doritos Locos Tacos were his idea. Cole alleges that the U.S. Postal Service was in cahoots with the defendants and that his idea for Doritos tacos was stolen through the mail system. Taco Bell spokesman Rob Poetsch wrote in an email, “The reality is, the suit is completely without merit, as our product-innovation team continuously develops and tests new menu concepts, and as a policy we do not accept unsolicited ideas, period.”

Florida: Two years after former Bradford County jail guard Charles Gregg Hendrix received probation for shooting his then-girlfriend in the face, he was again arrested, this time for stabbing his wife and 15-year-old stepdaughter. On May 9, 2013, deputies responded to Hendrix’s home after receiving calls about a disturbance. They found the stabbing victims when they arrived; both women were hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries. Hendrix was charged with attempted first-degree murder and violation of his probation. Bradford County had fired him after he pleaded no contest to assault with a deadly weapon for shooting his girlfriend.

Georgia: On May 16, 2013, Commissioner Avery D. Niles of the Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) announced felony arrests, staff resignations and firings at the Muscogee Youth Development Campus, stemming from his “ongoing statewide crackdown to rid the agency of any internal corruption, white collar crime, or policy violations that might threaten the integrity of the DJJ mission.” Two guards and the parent of a youthful offender have been arrested on contraband and other charges, two other guards submitted their resignations and a third guard has been terminated since the crackdown began in October 2012.

Georgia: Former Drug Task Force agent Timothy King, Jr. was sentenced on May 7, 2013 to six months in federal prison after being convicted of conspiring with former Wilcox County Sheriff Stacy Bloodsworth, 44, to lie about the beating of Kyle Michael Hyatt and two other prisoners at the Wilcox County Jail. The sheriff was reportedly angry about a contraband cell phone being in the jail, which resulted in the beating. Hyatt suffered a broken jaw and Bloodsworth tried to put it back into place using a lug wrench. Bloodsworth was sentenced to 10 years in prison for the assault and conspiracy to cover up the incident; his son, Austin, received 18 months in prison; former Wilcox County jail trusty Willie James Caruthers was sentenced to 18 months; and former jail guard Casey Owens received three years’ probation.

Honduras: On May 28, 2013, prisoners acting as spokespersons for two of Honduras’ largest and most dangerous rival street gangs, Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) and the 18th Street Gang, gave news conferences from separate prison cells to declare a truce. The truce, patterned after one between the same gangs in neighboring El Salvador, had been worked out over the preceding eight months through mediation by Roman Catholic Bishop Romulo Emiliani of San Pedro Sula. The incarcerated gang members said they would commit to zero violence and zero crime in the streets as a first-step show of good faith, offering peace in one of the world’s most violent countries in exchange for prison rehabilitation programs and jobs. Honduran President Porfirio Lobo said he supported the truce.

Illinois: The FBI has audio- and video-recorded evidence of an illegal gun trafficking transaction between former prison guard Dwayne Meeks, 48, and a convicted felon he had met in prison. In July 2012, the former prisoner, who was not identified because he was working undercover for the FBI, purchased eight firearms from Meeks for $18,000. Meeks and the former prisoner allegedly discussed the purchase of an additional eight guns. Meeks was arrested on May 29, 2013 following an undercover sting, and three AR-15 rifles he had brought to sell were seized. He was charged with dealing firearms without a federal license and selling firearms to a convicted felon.

Illinois: On May 6, 2013, Charles McClard, a guard at the maximum-security Menard Correctional Center, was arrested and charged with bringing contraband into a penal institution after he delivered a cell phone to a prisoner. He was suspended without pay pending the outcome of the investigation. Illinois DOC spokesman Thomas Shaer said in a statement that the contraband consisted of “multiple electronic devices.”

India: In early May 2013, a man from India died in a Pakistani jail after being beaten. The following day, a Pakistani prisoner in an Indian prison received a beating that resulted in his death on May 9, 2013. Some called the second incident a revenge killing. India and Pakistan have fought several wars since their independence from British colonial rule more than 65 years ago. Although ties between the countries have improved, the prisoners’ deaths put a fresh strain on their delicate relationship. Authorities in both nations are demanding investigations into the deaths.

Indiana: On May 25, 2013, an unnamed Allen County Community Corrections officer, who was reportedly checking on a person on home detention, shot Antione Billingsley’s pit bull, named “Baby,” three times in the chest and legs. The dog survived and later recovered, but Billingsley demanded an investigation into the incident. Community Corrections officials described the shooting as an action by the officer to protect both himself and others from the threat he claimed the dog presented. Billingsley said he was suspicious of that explanation: “My dog has never attacked anyone. I honestly believe there was something he had to do to provoke my dog.”

Indiana: A Marion County sheriff’s deputy was fired on May 22, 2013 after he confessed to inappropriately touching a female prisoner. The incident occurred at the county jail when Warren Hoosier, a 13-year employee with the sheriff’s office, was escorting the prisoner within the facility. The case was turned over to the Sheriff’s Criminal Division. Sheriff John Layton said the department has installed a hotline so prisoners can report incidents of sexual abuse.

Michigan: Scott Christian Hathorne, a former guard at the W.J. Maxey Boys Training School, told a 911 dispatcher “I want to kill a cop” after his wife was arrested earlier in the evening. Police were called to his home for a welfare check and found Hathorne armed and holed up inside his home with two children, ages 9 and 12. During negotiations, Hathorne indicated he wanted officers to come into the home and kill him; he also told them he had written a suicide note. When he finally exited the house, he ignored officers’ orders to place his hands behind his back, resulting in a charge of resisting arrest. He was sentenced on May 23, 2013 to 30 days in jail, six months of electronic monitoring and two years’ probation.

New Hampshire: In court pleadings filed on May 6, 2013, prosecutors argued that they had a legal right to bring felony charges of accomplice to identity fraud against 24-year-old Shayna Provencal. Provencal was arrested for coordinating a three-way call between her boyfriend, John Bouraphael, a county jail prisoner, and a prisoner at another jail so they could discuss strong-arming other prisoners out of canteen goods. During the call, Bouraphael convinced jail guards that he was a public defender by using a public defender’s identification number that was allegedly obtained by Provencal. Bouraphael faces charges of identity fraud in connection with the incident.

New Jersey: Marvin Thompson, 47, a former jail guard, is serving a five-year sentence for drug possession, official misconduct and filing a false report. Thompson was arrested in 2007 after trying to “distinguish himself” by “discovering” heroin and homemade weapons he had planted in the Passaic County Jail, but his plans were recorded by jailhouse informants. He lost an appeal to overturn his conviction on May 8, 2013 and will remain in prison until 2015.

New Mexico: Former New Mexico Penitentiary warden Lawrence Jaramillo filed a lawsuit in May 2013 alleging that he was fired in retaliation for whistleblowing. The suit claims he was subjected to “abusive supervision” after complaining that managers had engaged in fraud, waste and abuse; he is seeking reinstatement plus double lost wages and damages. Corrections Department attorney Jim Brewer said the litigation will show that Jaramillo was fired only due to his misconduct, which involved substantiated allegations of sexual harassment.

New York: A former Rikers Island jail guard, Robert Whitfield, 51, approached a total of five prisoners in the kitchen and offered to move up their release dates by making changes in the jail’s computer system in return for payoffs. “The officer said he preferred drugs because he could make more money with drugs,” said prisoner Rafael Montadoca, who testified against Whitfield during his trial in May 2013. Whitfield was convicted and sentenced to 8 years in prison for accepting a bribe of $100,000 worth of cocaine from an undercover officer posing as a prisoner’s cousin.

New York: Robert Wilson, 41, was suspended and then resigned from his position as a Monroe County sheriff’s deputy in September 2012. He had been employed with the Sheriff’s Department for 17 years, and for the last two years was assigned to the Monroe County Correctional Facility. Wilson admitted he had a sexual relationship with a 22-year-old prisoner and sexually touched six other female prisoners. He pleaded guilty to a 21-count indictment that included two counts of rape, one count of criminal sexual act, 12 counts of sexual abuse, one count of patronizing a prostitute and seven counts of official misconduct. Wilson was sentenced in April 2013 to six months in jail plus 10 years of post-release supervision. He also must register as a sex offender.

Niger: Three prisoners, said to be associated with “terrorist groups,” tried to break out of the central prison in the capital city of Niamey on June 1, 2013. Officials refused to say which terrorist group the prisoners were affiliated with, but the African nation was anxious after two recent terror attacks and the escape attempt brought the capital to a standstill. Nervous soldiers blocked the streets and crowds gathered in the neighborhood around the prison. The prisoners were subdued after killing two guards; Niger’s antiterrorist agency is looking into the incident.

Ohio: On May 2, 2013, Delaware County jail guard Randy N. Spencer, 28, was placed on administrative leave after being charged with sexual battery for molesting a 5-year-old girl left in his care. The Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation is handling the case because Spencer is a former deputy. “I’m sickened for the victim, if the allegations are true,” Delaware County Sheriff Russ Martin said, adding, “If he’s convicted, I will terminate him as soon as legally possible.”

Oklahoma: A nurse employed by private contractor Correctional Health Care is accused of having sex with a prisoner and smuggling drugs to him at the David L. Moss Criminal Justice Center. On May 31, 2013, Elizabeth Ann Guy, 43, admitted to Tulsa County investigators that she smuggled tobacco, marijuana, heroin and meth into the jail. According to news reports, Guy allegedly had sex with prisoner Jason Harrington twice in an exam room, and also brought him rolling papers and a Motorola cell phone. Tulsa County Sheriff’s Major Shannon Clark stressed that Guy was not an employee with the Sheriff’s Office, and said she will not be allowed to work at the jail again even if she keeps her job with Correctional Health Care.

Pennsylvania: Arii L. Metz, 34, a former Allegheny County jail guard, pleaded guilty in March 2013 to deprivation of civil rights in connection with the 2010 beating of prisoner David Kipp. According to another former guard who witnessed the incident, Metz “walked up to Kipp and started punching him without any provocation.” Kipp suffered a broken nose, perforated ear drum, and cuts and bruises. Another Allegheny County jail guard, Marcia Williams, 40, was convicted of official oppression and other charges related to the same incident, and received a year of probation. On May 23, 2013, a federal judge awarded Kipp $7,500 in damages due to the beating. “The conduct of Metz was outrageous and constituted a malicious and wanton violation of Kipp’s rights,” wrote U.S. District Court Judge Terrence F. McVerry.

Pennsylvania: The Scranton Times-Tribune reported in June 2013 that prison guard Joseph Black was placed on paid leave after two former prisoners filed lawsuits claiming he had sexually abused them at the Lackawanna County Prison. Both suits alleged multiple incidents of sexual assault and said prison officials knew or should have known about Black’s alleged misconduct. District Attorney Andy Jarbola declined to comment, citing an ongoing investigation. An investigatory grand jury was reportedly reviewing evidence against Black in September 2013.

Puerto Rico: On May 11, 2013, the last of some 480 prisoners returned to Puerto Rico after the U.S. territory canceled a $9.1 million agreement with Corrections Corporation of America to house prisoners at the company’s Cimarron Correctional Facility in Cushing, Oklahoma. Corrections Secretary José Negrón-Fernández said the island has enough space and funding to absorb the returning prisoners. In January 2013, two Puerto Rican prison officials died in a vehicle accident while traveling to the CCA-run facility to pick up a prisoner. [See: PLN, May 2013, p.56].

South Carolina: York County’s public works director reported on May 24, 2013 that someone had cut the belt of the county’s recycling center conveyor, causing at least $1,200 worth of damage. Five prisoner workers had access to the belt, but all claimed they didn’t see who did it. The prisoners were placed in segregation for five days and interviewed individually until one, hoping to spend time with his dying father, told investigators that he saw Andarius Patterson, 20, cut the belt to get out of working over the Memorial Day weekend. Patterson was charged with malicious injury to real property.

South Carolina: Mark L. Swinton, 24, a Charleston County jail prisoner, was in bond court on May 2, 2013 when he broke out into an expletive-filled tirade in front of Magistrate Linda Lombard. Lombard had set a $30,000 bond for Swinton, who was accused of spitting in a guard’s face. Swinton became combative and began swearing. In the midst of his outburst, Lombard told Swinton to apologize to the court or face 30 more days in jail. He refused and 30 days were added to his sentence. As he was led from the room by two guards, Swinton said, “Don’t nobody care about no 30 days, girl.”

Tennessee: Rutherford County Sheriff Robert Arnold launched an immediate investigation after receiving information that Deputy Keith Knowles allegedly smuggled marijuana, tobacco and a cell phone to prisoners at the Rutherford County Adult Detention Center. More than 800 prisoners and their living areas were searched for contraband, resulting in jail staff finding cigarettes and tobacco. Knowles was fired on May 10, 2013; Sheriff Arnold called the incident “very disappointing.”

Tennessee: Robert S. Hicks, 32, was arrested on May 21, 2013 once it was discovered he had presented a counterfeit marriage certificate to jail officials so he could visit a woman being held at the Johnson City Detention Facility. Hicks was charged with criminal simulation and jailed in lieu of $10,000 bond. Washington County authorities discovered the ruse following an internal investigation.

Texas: On July 19, 2013, David Stuart Tatarian, 27, turned himself in to the Killeen Police Department and was charged with four counts of violation of civil rights and sexual contact with a person in custody. The former Crain Unit prison guard had resigned in April 2013 after he became the subject of a criminal investigation for having sex with a female prisoner. He was booked into the Coryell County Jail with bail set at $100,000.

Washington: A classification counselor at the Washington State Penitentiary was charged on June 14, 2013, but not arrested, after a state investigation revealed she was involved in a sexual relationship with a prisoner who believed she had the ability to influence the length of his sentence. Laura C. Lindsay, 39, is accused of felony first-degree sexual misconduct. The investigation began in July 2012 after a routine search of the prisoner’s cell revealed photos of Lindsay posing nude. She admitted to having sex with the prisoner and resigned, and is scheduled to go to trial in December 2013.

As a digital subscriber to Prison Legal News, you can access full text and downloads for this and other premium content.

Subscribe today

Already a subscriber? Login