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Nine Maryland Prison Guards Federally Indicted in 2008 Beatings

On Feb. 27, 2013, nine current and former prison guards at the Roxbury Correctional Institution (RCI) in Hagerstown, Maryland, were charged in a federal indictment accusing them of conspiring to assault a prisoner and then covering up the attacks.

The guards were indicted in relation to two separate beatings of the prisoner—referred to in the indictment only as "K.D."—over a single weekend at RCI in March 2008.

K.D.'s injuries were so severe, according to federal prosecutors, that he was taken to a hospital. However, the guards' brazen cover-up of the beatings appears to have successfully prevented the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) from charging any of them with actual assault.

K.D. was first assaulted, DOJ alleges, during the graveyard shift at RCI on March 8, 2008, and involved Lt. Jason Weicht, guard Walter Steele, and former guards Jason Kalbflesh and Jeremy McCusker. Weicht and Steele were charged with conspiring to cover up the first assault, while Kalbflesh and McCusker were both charged with conspiracy and civil-rights violations.

Weicht was also charged with obstruction of justice for allegedly "encouraging officers to get together to get their stories straight, providing home telephone numbers for the involved officers so that they could arrange for a cover-up meeting, and giving an officer books on interrogation techniques so that he would be prepared to mislead investigators," according to the indictment.

Steele, meanwhile, also was charged with two counts of providing false and misleading information to federal investigators.

The second assault on K.D. allegedly occurred just hours later during the day shift, when he was punched and kicked in his cell, DOJ says, in retaliation for a prior incident with another guard. It was the second assault, prosecutors say, that sent K.D. to the hospital.

That beating would have been preserved on surveillance video if not for Lt. Edwin Stigile, who allegedly erased it with a magnetic device. Stigile was charged with obstruction of justice and, along with former guards Tyson Hinckle, Reginald Martin and Michael Morgan, conspiring to commit the assault.

Hinckle, Martin, Morgan and Sgt. Josh Hummer also face charges of civil-rights violations.

The maximum penalties each of the guards face are between 25 and 55 years in prison

Source: The Baltimore Sun

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