A former supervisory deputy at the regional jail in Perry County violated an inmate’s rights by beating him and wrote a false report to cover the crime, a federal jury ruled Wednesday.
Jurors convicted Kevin Eugene Asher, 32, on both charges he faced.
U.S. District Judge Amul R. Thapar scheduled sentencing for Asher in August. He faces up to 20 years in prison on the most serious charge that he obstructed justice with a false report on the incident.
The attack happened in November 2012 and involved an inmate named Gary Hill, who’d been arrested on disorderly conduct and other charges.
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Hill got mad when jail authorities wouldn’t let him make a telephone call and tried to flood the floor of his cell with water from the sink, according to court records.
Another supervisory deputy named Damon Wayne Hickman then knocked Hill to the floor. Hickman and Asher kicked Hill in the head several times while he was down, the indictment charged.
When Hill told the two they would be in trouble for assaulting him, Hickman and Asher grabbed the jail insignias on their uniforms and told Hill they were “the law” and could do what they wanted, Assistant U.S. Attorney Hydee Hawkins said in one court document.
Asher later wrote a false report saying Hill had acted aggressively toward officers before slipping on the wet floor, according to one motion.
Hickman pleaded guilty in a separate case last year to beating an inmate in July 2013 named Larry Trent, who died a few hours later.
Hickman, who has not been sentenced, testified against Asher, saying the two of them kicked Hill while he lay curled in the fetal position, according to a release from acting U.S. Attorney Carlton S. Shier IV.
Hickman testified that he beat Hill some more after he and Asher put Hill in a restraint chair.
Asher’s attorney, David S. Hoskins, argued in one motion that Hickman was lying about Asher’s involvement in the assault on Hill in order to get a lesser sentence.
Jurors deliberated about four hours before returning the guilty verdict against Asher.
Thapar placed Asher on home detention pending sentencing, according to court minutes.
Another former deputy at the jail, William Curtis Howell, faces trial May 8 on charges that he took part in assaulting Trent and then ignored his need for medical care.