By Van Smith
Baltimore City Paper
BALTIMORE — The correctional staffers met at a McDonald’s restaurant to get their stories straight. Having already lied to investigators probing the brutal March 2008 beatings of inmate Kenneth Davis at Roxbury Correctional Institution (RCI) in Hagerstown, saying they knew nothing about the incident, they needed to make sure they maintained that fiction—even consulting books about interview techniques to help them mislead truth-seekers. A lieutenant, now charged with obstructing justice for helping facilitate the cover-up, had provided the books and shared officers’ home phone numbers in order to set up the meeting away from work.
The jailers’ coordinated cover-up efforts in the aftermath of the Davis beatings are alleged in federal court documents filed in a quickly mounting Department of Justice (DOJ) Civil Rights Division prosecution based on an ongoing FBI probe. Two federal grand jury indictments for conspiring to beat Davis and cover up the crimes were handed down Feb. 27 against nine current and former Maryland corrections staffers, with other criminal conspiracy charges filed previously against another four.
So far, four current corrections employees—lieutenants Edwin Stigile and Jason Weicht, sergeant Josh Hummer, and correctional officer Walter Steele—and nine former officers have been charged. Three former officers and a former sergeant, Lanny Harris, were charged previously via criminal informations, which are filed with the defendants’ consent and usually indicate a guilty plea is imminent; three of them—Ryan Lohr, Dustin Norris, and Philip Mayo—have already pleaded guilty. The other indicted former officers are James Kalbflesh, Jeremy McCusker, Tyson Hinckle, Reginald Martin, and Michael Morgan. Those indicted face maximum sentences of between 25 and 55 years in prison.
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