State

He was once a jail guard. Now he’s going to prison for beating an inmate.

A former supervisory deputy at the jail in Perry County has been sentenced to nine years in prison in connection with an assault on an inmate.

Kevin Eugene Asher must serve at least 85 percent of the sentence. There is no parole in the federal court system, but inmates can cut as much as 15 percent off their sentences through good conduct.

U.S. District Judge Karen K. Caldwell sentenced Asher on Thursday.

Asher was convicted in April of violating an inmate’s rights by beating him and writing a false report to cover up the crime.

The attack happened in November 2012 at the Kentucky River Regional Jail in Hazard and involved an inmate named Gary Hill, a disabled miner who had been arrested on disorderly conduct and other charges.

Hill got angry 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 jailer, Damon Wayne Hickman, knocked Hill to the floor, according to court records.

Hickman and Asher were charged with kicking Hill several times while he was on the floor.

When Hill told the two they would be in trouble for assaulting him, Hickman and Asher allegedly showed him the 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 was charged with writing a false report saying that 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 another inmate in July 2013 named Larry Trent, who died a few hours later. He has not been sentenced.

Asher’s attorney, David S. Hoskins, argued in one motion that Hickman was lying about Asher’s involvement in the assault in order to get a lesser sentence. But Hawkins said in a motion that Asher and Hickman “inflicted senseless violence” on Hill.

Hoskins said Asher maintains his innocence and will appeal the conviction.

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