- The Washington Times - Monday, May 25, 2009

HAGERSTOWN, Md. — An inmate hospitalized after four beatings in 24 hours at the Roxbury Correctional Institution was left unrecognizable, according to recently filed court documents detailing the March 2008 attack that led to nine correctional officers being fired and charged criminally.

Inmate Kenneth J. Davis, 42, was hospitalized for four days after the beatings, which left him with several broken bones, according to findings of fact by an administrative law judge.

Administrative Law Judge Louis N. Hurwitz’s findings of fact were filed in Washington County Circuit Court in connection with an attempt by former correctional officer Michael Morgan to get his job back. Judge Hurwitz upheld Mr. Morgan’s firing, and Mr. Morgan is seeking judicial review of that decision.

According to the findings, the prison near Hagerstown was placed on lockdown March 6, 2008, after several inmates, many of them part of a gang, assaulted correctional officers while leaving the dining hall.

The inmates accused of assaulting the officers were later transferred to the North Branch Correctional Institution near Cumberland, Md., where they were beaten in retaliation, officials have said.

A total of 25 correctional officers were fired after the beatings at the two prisons. Three were later reinstated.

The judge’s findings show that correctional officer Timothy Mellott was checking on Mr. Davis in the inmate’s cell on March 8 when Mr. Davis punched the officer and pinned him briefly against a wall. The attack on Mr. Mellott was unprovoked, the judge found.

Mr. Davis was moved to a different cell, where he was beaten four times over three consecutive eight-hour work shifts, the judge found. Mr. Davis could not identify the officers who assaulted him on the last shift because his eyes were swollen almost completely shut, the documents show.

Mr. Davis was treated at Washington County Hospital for fractures in his face, back and ribs. A correctional officer investigating the beating did not recognize Mr. Davis when he spoke to him in the hospital, the documents show.

Mr. Morgan participated in the final beating of Mr. Davis, when officers punched and kicked the inmate over a period of five minutes, the judge found.

When questioned about the beating, Mr. Morgan “intentionally withheld information and provided false information,” denying any knowledge of or participation in the attack, the judge wrote.

However, two officers, Mr. Mellott and Lucas Kelley, ultimately cooperated with investigators. Mr. Mellott, who was initially attacked by Mr. Davis, admitted he returned to the inmate’s cell and kicked him while he was handcuffed and lying down, according to a memo from an internal investigator.

Mr. Kelley also told investigators that officers took turns punching and kicking Mr. Davis while the inmate was down on the floor and unable to defend himself.

Mr. Kelley and Mr. Mellott are scheduled to appear in Washington County Circuit Court on Tuesday. Assistant Attorney General Jason Abbott, who is prosecuting the former correctional officers, said during a hearing Thursday that he expects Mr. Kelley to enter a plea and cooperate with the state.

In addition to Mr. Mellott, 23, Mr. Kelley, 29, and Mr. Morgan, 39, the Roxbury officers charged with second-degree assault are Robert Harvey, 62; Scott Boozel, 28; Keith Morris, 27; Reginald Martin, 38; Dustin Norris, 24; and Tyson Hinkle, 34. Second-degree assault is a misdemeanor punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a $2,500 fine.

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