Jesse Lee Williams Case Update:

The Sun-Herald reports more details on the plea agreement Regina Rhodes made with federal prosecutors concerning her role in the beating death of Jesse Lee Williams, Jr. while he was in the custody of the Harrison County, Mississippi sherriff's department.

Regina Lynn Rhodes, 29, faces up to 13 years in a federal prison and a $500,000 fine for violating the civil rights of Jessie Lee Williams Jr. under color of law and withholding information. She will be sentenced Oct. 16 at 9 a.m. by U.S. District Judge Louis Guirola Jr.

Rhodes pleaded guilty Monday, admitting she injured Williams on Feb. 4 with repeated blows to his neck, back and legs while he was restrained in the jail booking room.

Her admission of guilt came through a plea agreement, read in court, which also states she failed to mention the use of unnecessary force in a report the next day and then lied to state and federal investigators during interviews on Feb. 8 and June 19. Rhodes was fired, her resignation effective April 11.

The plea agreement, dated July 26, documents Rhodes' claim that an unnamed deputy in a supervisory position and other corrections officers "regularly encouraged other corrections officers" to assault inmates "in circumstances that did not justify use of force." The agreement also claims the jailers "submitted false, incomplete and misleading jail reports" to cover up the incidents and that while Rhodes was aware of their actions, she failed to report them.

A copy of the plea agreement is available here.

Related Posts (on one page):

  1. Interesting Developments in Williams Case:
  2. Jesse Lee Williams Case Update:
  3. Show Us the Tape:
So federal prosecutors have secured conviction of the least culpable actor in the case. Rhodes admits she non-fatally battered Mr. Williams, and covered up the fatal acts of other deputies and supervisors.

Convicting the entire pack of murderous psychopaths will be much more persuasive that at least somebody in government actually takes seriously the rights of ordinary citizens, including common criminals.

If prosecutors don't take out all higher-ups who encouraged, promoted or simply disregarded the behaviors of the deputies, then the ultimate outcome will only be only better coverups by that department and others in the future. Officials inclined to such behaviors will have learned that a successful coverup requires little more than an expendable underling to throw to the wolves.

The question is which course federal prosecutors will follow.
8.9.2006 12:57pm