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Two ex-RCI officers no-shows at hearing

March 04, 2009|By ERIN JULIUS

HAGERSTOWN -- Seven of nine former Roxbury Correctional Institution officers charged with second-degree assault in a March 2008 incident at the prison were in Washington County Circuit Court Thursday for bond reviews.

The judge advised the seven of their rights, and released each of them on personal recognizance.

Jason Abbott of the Maryland Office of the Attorney General, who represented the state during the hearing, did not object to releasing the officers on personal recognizance.

The former RCI correctional officers charged with second-degree assault are: Robert Harvey, 62; Scott Boozel, 28; Tim Mellott, 22; Keith Morris, 26; Lucas Kelly, 29; Reginald Martin, 38; Michael Morgan, 39; Dustin Norris, 24; and Tyson Hinkle, 33.

The charge against each is a misdemeanor punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a $2,500 fine.

Mellott and Kelly were not in court Thursday morning.

Kelly has been cooperative with Maryland State Police, Abbott told the judge, who issued a summons for Kelly's appearance.

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There was still a warrant out for Mellott's arrest.

The seven former officers filed into the courtroom wearing handcuffs, which deputies removed before proceedings began.

The charges against the former RCI officers all relate to one victim, former RCI inmate Kenneth Davis, court records show.

Davis was involved in an altercation with staff, and later ended up in the hospital after a severe beating, Washington County Deputy State's Attorney Joseph Michael said previously.

Court documents first available Thursday morning show that three of the officers are alleged to have beaten Davis on March 8, 2008, and five of the officers are alleged to have beaten him March 9, 2008. Documents related to Mellott's case were not available Thursday.

Mellott was named in court documents as the victim of an assault by Davis. The inmate had been charged with second-degree assault on a Division of Correction employee and reckless endangerment, but prosecutors dropped those charges in December 2008.

Prison records available online indicate that Davis is incarcerated at Eastern Correctional Institution in Westover, Md.

Hillary Davis, a Towson, Md., attorney who is representing Michael Morgan through the Maryland Classified Employees Association, said after Thursday's hearing that the state "cast a wide net" in filing the charges.

Davis, who was retained by the Maryland Classified Employees Association to represent Morgan, said she felt confident the former officers would be exonerated.

Six former North Branch officers have been charged with second-degree assault and conspiracy to commit an assault. They are Jason Weaver, 35; Richard Robinson, 36; Sherman Jones, 39; Kenneth Platter, 36; Tony Nery, 42; and Ryan Dolan, 28. The men also were charged in connection with March incidents, and six victims were named in court documents.

All six former North Branch officers appeared in Allegany County Circuit Court Thursday afternoon, and were released on personal recognizance, a clerk there said.

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