Federal authorities have filed additional charges against a former Perry County jail guard accused of badly beating an inmate who later died.
The new complaint charges that Damon Wayne Hickman assaulted one inmate in October 2011 and another in November 2012, depriving them of their right not to be subjected to excessive force.
Hickman made an initial court appearance on the charges Wednesday.
Hickman and William Curtis Howell, another former guard at the Kentucky River Regional Jail in Hazard, were charged last year with beating inmate Larry Trent and then failing to get medical care for him.
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When Hickman and Howell tried to remove a mat from Trent’s cell early on July 9, 2013, Trent, who had appeared to be confused earlier, ran out of the cell flailing his arms, according to an indictment.
Hickman wrestled Trent to the floor, then he and Howell allegedly kicked and punched him repeatedly.
Hickman also used a Taser on Trent several times, and one of the deputies kicked him in the pelvis, the indictment charged.
Hickman and Howell left a bloody Trent in his cell without seeking treatment for him. Four hours later, another jail employee found that Trent was not breathing, the indictment said.
An autopsy showed the main cause of the 54-year-old Trent’s death was bleeding caused by a pelvic fracture. Blows to his head, body and arms and legs contributed, according to a court motion.
Hickman and Howell pleaded not guilty.
Attorneys for the two have raised several potential defenses in court documents, including that the force they used against Trent was appropriate in order to control him.
However, Assistant U.S. Attorneys Hydee Hawkins and Sanjay Patel argued in a motion that Hickman and Howell had used improper force against inmates several other times.
Prosecutors cited six other alleged assaults by Hickman and four by Howell dating back years before Trent’s death.
In one case from 2010, a guard said he saw Hickman hitting himself in the face with a can of shaving cream.
The guard said Hickman laughed and said he was doing it so he could claim an inmate had attacked him. The inmate, who had a boot-shaped bruise on his face, later told the other guard Hickman had kicked him, according to the court document.
Before U.S. District Judge Amul R. Thapar ruled on whether prosecutors could present evidence of other alleged assaults at the trial involving Trent’s death, they withdrew the request.
However, FBI agent Christopher Hubbuch signed a complaint with the new, separate charges against Hickman based on two of the alleged assaults.
In one case, Hickman allegedly punched Alexander Taulbee in the ear while guards were searching Taulbee as he was being booked into the jail in October 2011.
Taulbee had been arrested for drunken driving with a female relative of Hickman’s, according to one court document.
Another guard said Hickman may have hit Taulbee — who was not being combative — in retaliation, Hubbuch said in a sworn statement.
Hickman broke his hand hitting Taulbee, court records said.
The other new charge involves an alleged assault in November 2012 against Gary Hill, who had been arrested for disorderly conduct, harassment and resisting arrest after drinking alcohol with his prescription medications, according to a court document.
Hall got mad about not being allowed to make a telephone call and tried to flood his cell, one motion said.
Hickman allegedly knocked Hall to the floor with a punch to the face and kicked him repeatedly, then punched him several times in the face after he’d been strapped into a restraint chair.
Hickman is scheduled for trial on the charges related to Trent’s death next month. He could be sentenced to life in prison if convicted.
No trial date has been set on the new charges.
Howell’s attorney, Willis G. Coffey, asked that the charges against him be continued indefinitely, saying an evaluation showed he is not competent to stand trial.