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Former Roxbury Correctional Institution correctional officer pleads in 2008 case

Philip Mayo pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Baltimore to conspiring with other RCI officers to beat an inmate

February 28, 2013

U.S. Department of Justice officials said Thursday that a third former Roxbury Correctional Institution correctional officer has pleaded guilty in connection with the beating of an inmate at the facility south of Hagerstown in 2008.

Philip Mayo, 41, of Randolph, N.Y., pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Baltimore to conspiring with other RCI officers to beat an inmate identified as “K.D.” during the midnight shift on March 9, 2008, according to a news release.

Mayo is facing up to five years in prison along with a $250,000 fine. He is scheduled to be sentenced Oct. 28.

The inmate referred to as K.D. in the Justice Department release was identified in Herald-Mail accounts at the time as former Roxbury inmate Kenneth Davis.

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Former RCI correctional officers Ryan Lohr, 26, of Flintstone, Md., and Dustin Norris, 28, of Martinsburg, W.Va., have also pleaded guity in the case.

Lohr entered a guilty plea Jan. 30 in U.S. District Court in Baltimore to conspiring to obstruct justice and destroy evidence in the 2008 incident and Norris pleaded guilty to conspiring with other officers in the beating.

Lohr and Norris are facing up to five years in prison. Lohr also is facing a $250,000 fine and is scheduled to be sentenced June 18. Norris is to be sentenced Oct. 28.

Department of Justice officials said Wednesday that Mayo and other officers met at RCI during a midnight shift and agreed to assault Davis in retaliation for a prior incident involving Davis and another officer.

Mayo and three other officers entered Davis’ cell to assault Davis while a fourth officer watched, the Department of Justice said.

The correctional officers used their fists and feet to strike Davis, according to the Department of Justice.

After Lohr learned there would be an investigation into the beating, he met with other RCI officers and agreed to cover up the assault, officials have said. Lohr directed others to clean up blood in Davis’ cell and a supervisor used what appeared to be a magnetic device in an effort to destroy video surveillance footage, officials said.

Fourteen correctional officers were charged locally or by the Maryland Attorney General’s Office. Six were convicted of charges ranging from second-degree assault to conspiracy to commit assault. Three of them received jail sentences.

“Mr. Mayo has admitted that he and other officers conspired to use unlawful force to punish an inmate.

The Justice Department will continue to vigorously prosecute those officers who violate the rights of inmates,” Thomas Perez, assistant Attorney General for the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division, said in a release.

Mark Vernarelli, public information director for the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services, offered a statement Thursday evening about the case.

“The recent guilty pleas by former correctional officers, along with the previous terminations of others in the wake of this incident which were upheld by the Office of Administrative Hearings, suggests that these former correctional officers worked under strong misperceptions about how they were to conduct themselves professionally. This was an incident where the many individuals involved ignored their training, did not follow the department’s correctional officer code of conduct, and failed the professional responsibilities expected of them as Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services employees,” Vernarelli said.

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