Five Of Nine Sentences Handed Down In Jail Abuse Case - - The News for South Mississippi

Five Of Nine Sentences Handed Down In Jail Abuse Case

Five of the nine former jailers charged in connection with inmate abuse at the Harrison County jail were sentenced in federal court Monday by Judge Louis Guirola Jr.  The sentences ranged from probation to four years in prison.

Regina Rhodes was the first person sentenced. She was also the first one who came forward to cooperate with the federal investigation and tell about the widespread abuse at the jail.  

She broke the "code of silence" according to attorney Michael Crosby, who represents the family of Jessie Lee Williams Jr.

Williams is the inmate who was beaten to death at the jail in February of last year.  Former jailer Ryan Teel was convicted of his murder and was sentenced just four days ago to life in prison. 

Judge Guirola sentenced Rhodes to 18 months in prison and three years of supervised release. Before imposing sentence, the judge said Rhodes and the other defendants had "done more damage than you can possibly imagine." The judge said they had failed in their law enforcement duty to protect and serve. He said "my sincere hope is our community can heal and confidence can be restored in law enforcement."

Before sentencing, Rhodes apologized for her behavior and took responsibility for her actions. 

Morgan Thompson had no comment prior to sentencing. He was given four years in prison and two years supervised release.  The judge said his conduct involving one particular inmate assault was "barbaric." That inmate's bloody face was posted in the booking area for others to see. 

Former jailer William Priest was granted leniency by the judge.  He was sentenced to 21 months in prison, but had faced up to three and a half years. He told the judge, "I will persevere. My wife gives me strength and my daughter gives me hope." 

Timothy Moore received the lightest sentence possible. He was given five years probation and 12 months of home confinement with electronic monitoring. Moore pleaded guilty to falsifying a jail report.  He quit his jailer's job in mid-shift after an incident where an inmate was shot with a taser while in the shower area.

The judge commended his willingness to be remorseful. He said Moore demonstrated the "advanced trait of conscience and humanity" when he walked out of the jail. 

Karl Stolze was sentenced to 15 months in prison and two years supervised release.  The military veteran accepted responsibility for his actions and told the judge he had "failed to serve my community and failed my family." 

The judge gave him a lesser sentence because of his cooperation with the investigation.  

Four more former jailers will be sentenced beginning at 9:00 A.M. Tuesday. They include Diedre Caldwell, Daniel Evans, Thomas Preston Wills and Broderick Fulton.

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