MACON, Ga. (AP) — A former Wilcox County sheriff, his son and several other people were sentenced to prison Wednesday for beating jail inmates — one of whom had to have his jaw wired shut because of his injuries — and conspiring to cover up the assault.
Former Sheriff Stacy Bloodsworth was sentenced to 10 years in prison for assaulting inmates in the county jail. His son, Austin, former drug task force agent, Timothy King Jr. and former inmate trustee Willie Caruthers were also sentenced for their involvement in the assaults and cover-up, according to Department of Justice officials.
Caruthers pleaded guilty to assaulting the inmates and conspiring to cover up the beating. Austin Bloodsworth and King each pleaded guilty to conspiring to cover up the assault and former jailer Casey Owens pleaded guilty to misprision. Austin Bloodsworth and Caruthers were each sentenced to 18 months in prison. King was sentenced to six months in prison, and Owens was sentenced to probation.
"The sentences handed down today bring closure to an alarming case, where those sworn to uphold the law now feel the full weight of it," U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Georgia Michael Moore said in a written statement.
Stacy Bloodsworth pleaded guilty to ordering three inmates out of their cells July 23, 2009, because one of them had a cellphone in violation of jail policy. He hit the inmates and watched as others joined in hitting and kicking the inmates, according to the Department of Justice.
Authorities say Bloodsworth used a wrench to try repairing an inmate's broken jaw. A week later, the man was taken to a local hospital to have his jaw wired shut. Other inmates suffered cuts and bruises.
During his plea hearing, Bloodsworth said he made up a cover story about the beatings. He ordered the others to say Caruthers and the victim got into a fight after the victim called him a racial slur, according to U.S. Attorney's officials. He also asked Caruthers and Owens to write the cover story in an incident report.
After the inmate who suffered a broken jaw hired an attorney, authorities say Stacy Bloodsworth told the same story to special agents from the FBI.