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Two correctional officers admit to assaulting RCI inmate

May 26, 2009|By ERIN JULIUS

HAGERSTOWN -- Two former correctional officers pleaded guilty Tuesday to beating a Roxbury Correctional Institution inmate in March 2008.

Timothy Mellott, 23, of Woodbridge, Va., and Lucas Kelly, 29, of Frostburg, Md., pleaded guilty to second-degree assault in the beating of inmate Kenneth J. Davis.

Both men agreed to testify against their former colleagues, seven of whom have been charged in connection with the incident, Assistant Attorney General Jason Abbott, who is prosecuting the cases, said Tuesday.

Mellott and Kelly were allowed to remain free on personal recognizance. They will be sentenced after the cases involving the seven other officers have been prosecuted, Washington County Circuit Judge M. Kenneth Long Jr. said.

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The charges have their roots in a March 8, 2008, incident in which Mellott went to check on Davis in his cell and Davis struck Mellott in the face, Abbott said Tuesday morning during Mellott's hearing.

Other officers pulled Davis off Mellott and subdued the inmate, Abbott said.

The officers then took Davis to a cell in the Administrative Segregation Intake Area, known as ASIA.

A lieutenant on duty in the area asked what Davis did. When told that Davis assaulted Mellott, the lieutenant asked the inmate why he did that, Abbott said. Then the lieutenant went into the cell and kicked Davis in the midsection while Davis was handcuffed, Abbott alleged.

Another officer punched Davis, and Mellott grabbed the inmate, threw him to the ground and kicked him in the back, Abbott said.

Davis was handcuffed the entire time, Abbott said.

Kelly appeared in court Tuesday morning without an attorney.

Kelly discussed the situation involving Davis with his father-in-law, John Rowley, who at the time was a warden at North Branch Correctional Institution near Cumberland, Md., according to records in court. Rowley encouraged Kelly to come forward and called a Maryland State Police investigator, the records show.

On April 5, 2008, Kelly spoke with RCI Warden Nancy Rouse by telephone, offered his resignation and told her he participated in a March 9 assault, according to allegations in the documents filed in court.

Abbott has said Kelly cooperated with investigators.

At the beginning of his 7 a.m.-to-3 p.m. shift at RCI March 9, 2008, Kelly and other officers were told about Davis assaulting Mellott the day before, Abbott said Tuesday.

Kelly and three other officers went to the ASIA area of the prison and five officers went into Davis' cell, Abbott said. Davis was lying on the floor and did not threaten the officers or attempt to assault them, Abbott said in court.

The officers punched and kicked Davis several times while Davis was defenseless, Abbott alleged. The inmate, who at one point was kicked in the genital area, curled into a ball to protect himself, Abbott said.

Afterward, the officers left Davis' cell and returned to their posts, Abbott said.

Kelly initially made a statement that he and his co-defendants had discussed, denying any knowledge of the attack on Davis, Abbott alleged. Kelly later came forward, admitted to being involved in the assault and implicated the others, Abbott said.

Seven other former RCI correctional officers have been charged with second-degree assault in the case: Robert Harvey, 62; Scott Boozel, 28; Keith Morris, 27; Reginald Martin, 38; Michael Morgan, 39; Dustin Norris, 24; and Tyson Hinkle, whose name also appears in documents as Hinckle, 34.

Those officers are expected to be in Washington County Circuit Court June 15 and 16, court records show.

Records in court allege that Davis was beaten four times over three consecutive eight-hour work shifts while he was being held in the segregation area.

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