Two former correctional officers from Southern Regional Jail in Raleigh County, W.Va., pleaded guilty to conspiracy for assault that led to inmate’s death. (Chris Jackson | West Virginia Watch)
Two former correctional officers admitted their roles in assaulting a Southern Regional Jail inmate who died last year as a result.
Steven Nicholas Wimmer and Andrew Fleshman both pleaded guilty Thursday to federal charges of conspiring with other officers to use unreasonable force against the inmate, identified in court documents as Q.B., a 37-year-old pre-trial detainee.
Fleshman and Wimmer responded to a call for officer assistance after Burks tried to push past an officer and leave C-pod, according to court documents.
When they arrived at C-pod, Q.B. was on the floor and “persons known and unknown to the United States Attorney” were “using force” against the inmate, the documents say.
Fleshman and Wimmer restrained and handcuffed him, then struck and injured him while he was constrained and posed no threat to punish the man for the incident at C-pod, the documents say.
Wimmer and Fleshman face a sentence of up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000 when they’re sentenced Feb. 24, 2024, according to a news release from the United States Department of Justice.
The FBI Pittsburgh Field Office is investigating the case, according to the news release.
The West Virginia Division of Corrections currently faces multiple lawsuits over conditions of regional jails and treatment of inmates, including a class-action lawsuit over allegations of inhumane conditions at Southern Regional Jail. Gov. Jim Justice declared a state of emergency over the capacity and staffing for correctional officers last year for the second time in five years.
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