Sixteen Maryland Prison Guards Sentenced for Severely Beating Prisoner
Sixteen guards formerly employed atthe Roxbury Correctional Institution (RCI) near Hagerstown, Maryland have received sentences ranging from probation to five years in prison in connection with two assaults on a prisoner and conspiring to cover up those incidents. Fourteen of the former guards were named in a federal indictment and two pleaded guilty to state charges. [See: PLN, Sept. 2013, p.56; May 2009, p.14; Aug. 2009, p.20].
A federal indictment handed down in February 2013 alleged the guards beat prisoner Kenneth Davis on two consecutive shifts on March 9, 2008 after he had punched another guard. One assault occurred on the midnight shift and the second on the day shift, just hours following the first beating. U.S. Department of Justice investigators said Davis was punched and kicked in his cell severely enough to send him to a hospital with broken ribs and fractured bones in his face and back.
Six former RCI guards were sentenced in March 2014 on federal charges that included conspiracy, falsification of a document and witness tampering. Lanny Harris received 30 months in prison and two years of supervised release; Philip Mayo was sentenced to 30 months and two years of supervised release; Lt. Robert Harvey and guard Keith Morris were each placed on probation for 18 months; Dustin Norris received 15 months in prison plus two years of supervised release; and Ryan Lohr was sentenced to 12 months and one day in prison and two years of supervised release.
Four other guards, Michael Morgan, Jeremy McCusker, Walter Scott Steele and Tyson Hinckle, were sentenced in April 2014 to prison terms ranging from four to 30 months, while former guard Reginald Martin received a sentence of one year and one day in May 2014. According to documents filed with his guilty plea, Martin told investigators that beatings were standard practice at RCI, and that guards routinely used force to punish prisoners for misconduct.
A federal jury acquitted Sgt. Josh Hummer of depriving Davis of his civil rights, and failed to reach a verdict on charges of conspiracy and lying to an administrative judge. However, he was convicted in May 2014 on an obstruction of justice charge and sentenced to 12 months and one day in prison. See: United States v. Hinckle, U.S.D.C. (D. Md.), Case No. 1:13-cr-00084-JKB.
Former Lt. Edwin Stigile III was sentenced in June 2014 to 36 months for destruction of records; he had used a magnetic device to delete surveillance video of Davis’ second beating. The stiffest sentence was imposed on former guard James Kalbflesh, who investigators said participated in the first beating. Kalbflesh was sentenced on July 24, 2014 to five years in prison plus three years of supervised release after a federal jury found him guilty of conspiracy charges. McCusker admitted he had joined Kalbflesh in beating Davis, and McCusker and Steele testified for the prosecution at Kalbflesh’s trial. At least one RCI guard, Jason Weicht, was acquitted; two other guards pleaded guilty in state court.
“Sixteen former correctional officers from RCI have been convicted and sentenced for their involvement in the series of beatings of an inmate, and in the coordinated cover-ups that followed each assault,” stated Acting Assistant Attorney General Jocelyn Samuels. “These officers betrayed the public trust by using their official positions to commit violent civil rights abuses and then tried to cover up their crimes. The Department of Justice will continue to prosecute vigorously correctional officers who use their power to violate federal law.”
Davis, who was released from prison in October 2012, reportedly received $100,000 to settle an administrative complaint filed against the state and several of the former guards.
Sources: Baltimore Sun, http://blogs.citypaper.com, www.heraldmailmedia.com, http://washington.cbslocal.com, www.justice.gov, http://baltimore.cbslocal.com
As a digital subscriber to Prison Legal News, you can access full text and downloads for this and other premium content.
Already a subscriber? Login
Related legal case
United States v. Hinckle
|U.S.D.C. (D. Md.), Case No. 1:13-cr-00084-JKB