Guards fired over abuse charge
Posted: March 30, 2011 - 12:33am
By Joe Gamm

State prison officials fired three corrections officers and a fourth retired after investigators accused them of hitting or kicking an inmate at the Clements Unit last year.

A Potter County grand jury has indicted Lt. John Jowers II, 40; Sgt. Matthew Borunda, 26, and corrections officers Robert Nixon, 24, and Jeremy Bevill, 23, on misdemeanor official oppression charges after a June incident at the Amarillo maximum-security prison unit.

Official oppression, a Class A misdemeanor, occurs when a public servant, acting under color of their office, intentionally mistreats another person. If convicted of the crime, the defendants face up to a year in jail and a possible $4,000 fine.

The Special Prosecutions Unit, established to assist district attorneys' offices in prosecuting criminal cases in the Texas prison system, accused the four men of illegally beating an inmate on June 26 last year.

Jackie Ronald Green, a 46-year-old high-risk inmate in the Clements Unit serving a life sentence for murder, was either threatening to or throwing things at the guards, said Texas Department of Criminal Justice public information officer Jason Clark.

"The inmate was pulled out of the cell in a use of force," Clark said. "He was pushed against a wall and down to the floor. There was an allegation that an excessive use of force was used in the incident."

A jury convicted Green of killing a man in Smith County by beating him to death over a three-day period in 2007, court records show.

Officials contacted by the Amarillo Globe-News did not provide further details or answer questions about whether Green was handcuffed during the June 26 incident at the Amarillo prison.

The indictments, handed up on March 9, accuse the four corrections officers of causing bodily injury to Green.

Borunda and Nixon are accused of beating the inmate with their hands or feet. Jowers and Bevill are accused of striking Green with their hands or feet or knees, court records show.

Prison officials fired Borunda, Nixon and Bevill shortly after the incident and Jowers resigned rather than face discipline, Clark said.

Texas Inspector General John Moriarty, whose office investigates criminal cases in prisons, said in an e-mail that he could not comment on the pending criminal matter. The prosecutions unit also declined to comment on the case.

Article Abused by guards