Williams Family Attorney And District Attorney Weigh-In On Inmate Abuse Trial - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Williams Family Attorney And District Attorney Weigh-In On Inmate Abuse Trial

A jury convicted former jailer Ryan Teel on 3 of 4 counts and he faces life in prison, while former booking captain Rick Gaston was found not guilty on all charges.

Michael Crosby, the attorney for the family of Jesse Lee Williams says after sitting in the courtroom, he could see how the jury reached two different verdicts.

"Based on the evidence that was presented to them ,and keeping in mind this is the criminal responsibility not the civil or negligent association,I understand the verdict," says Crosby.

Some still don't understand, however, why District Attorney Cono Caranna didn't prosecute the case from the start.

"We decided to bring in the federal resources of the federal government. Because of the work they do and the team they brought in, it was beyond the scope of my office," said Caranna.

Carana says he believes the 8 deputies who pleadguilty are a result of the federal investigation.

According to Crosby, trial testimony revealed more attempts, from people in high-level positions, to cover up abuse at the jail.

"There was a discussion about a particular individual in internal affairs who allegedly told officers how to cover-up or pretend they were being assaulted. When an inmate talks when an animated gesture, they would duck to make it look like someone's being aggressive toward them," said Crosby.

Despite the evidence presented, Crosby says a concern on some people's minds was the state's history in legal matters of this nature.

"The only thing that was in the back of everyone's mind is that we have a history in Mississippi. It's a past that concerns us. We had some major developments to show we're not who we were in the past. We have the sheriff who was defeated in the first round (of elections); we're not the same state and we've progressed," said Crosby.

As for possible legal action against George Payne, District Attorney Cono Coranna said "only the ongoing investigation" will reveal if the Harrison County sheriff didn't follow the law while on the job.

Crosby said at the end of the trial a federal prosecutor said the federal investigation would continue with possibly more indictments to follow.

By Krystal Allan

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