Former Jailer Ordered Held Without Bond - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Former Jailer Ordered Held Without Bond

Ryan Teel, the former Harrison County jailer accused in the beating death of inmate Jessie Lee Williams, was back in federal court Thursday.

Teel's father, attorney Wes Teel, took the stand on his son's behalf. He told the court Ryan has strong family ties here, no money or means to flee, and could have already run since he's known about the pending charges since March.

The government argued the nature of this violent crime warrants detention. Teel was in a position of trust and authority at the Harrison County jail where the beating death took place.

In arguing for detention, prosecutor Lisa Krigston told the judge the incident at the jail was captured on video tape and shows Teel's involvement. She also told the court Teel has made admissions in this case that he did use "some" excessive force in the death of Jessie Lee Williams.

Defense attorney Jim Davis argued the video tape evidence would likely exonerate Mr. Teel. He also said he was unaware of any such admissions.

The judge's decision brought mixed reaction from two sides of a packed courtroom.

"We're very pleased with the way the court ruled. It seems to be appropriate in the circumstances, as he indicated," said District Attorney, Cono Caranna.

Friends of the Teel family say it's yet another blow to a family that's suffered much.

Rev. John Malestein is a pastor for Wes Teel's family.

"I think they're doing remarkably well. They've gone through a lot of trials and tribulations over the past few years. This is only one more that might break the camel's back," said the pastor.

Tears of sadness on the defendant's side, but tears of joy from the victim's family.

"I'm very glad that he's being held behind bars for the death of my brother," said Tammy Williams, outside the courthouse.

 Terry Williams is Jessie Williams' brother.

"We've been trying to hold together. I mean it's been hard, but we're keeping it together," said Williams.

The father who spoke so strongly on his son's behalf inside the courtroom, was silent afterward.

Wes Teel ignored a reporter's request for comment.

Meanwhile, the Williams family left court smiling, calling this a "big relief," but knowing there's a trial yet to follow.

By Steve Phillips

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