GREENBELT, Md. (AP) — A Maryland jail worker accused of failing to seek medical attention for an inmate found hanging by a sheet while in custody pleaded guilty on Friday to one count of falsification of records in a federal investigation.
Anthony McIntosh, 49, entered a plea deal with federal prosecutors. The guilty plea was accepted by U.S. District Judge Alexander Williams, who set an April 8 sentencing date.
McIntosh was working at the Prince George’s County jail in June 2008 when he found Ronnie White, 19, hanging from a sheet in his cell. He pleaded guilty to making a false statement to a Prince George’s County police officer by representing he was not the first person to find White unresponsive in his cell, his attorney, Deborah Boardman, said.
“Mr. McIntosh’s guilty plea is perhaps more significant for what it does not say. It does not implicate Mr. McIntosh in Ronnie White’s death,” Boardman told reporters after the guilty plea was entered. “Ronnie White’s death was tragic, but Anthony McIntosh did not harm, kill or cause the death of Ronnie White.”
Asked why McIntosh made the false statement, Boardman said, “That will be addressed at a later date.”
Although McIntosh entered the cell and removed White from the sheet, prosecutors have contended he quickly left the room, failed to tell anyone and later falsified reports about the death. Another guard found White 15 minutes later. Defense attorneys have said McIntosh, who claimed in his report that a colleague found White, panicked at the discovery.
White had been charged with running over and killing a county police officer with a stolen car.
The state medical examiner’s office ruled White’s death a homicide by strangulation and asphyxiation. The case stirred immediate concerns that vigilante justice had taken place, especially because White had been charged in the death of a law enforcement officer.
Officials said at the time that seven guards had access to White at the time of his death. They also said an unspecified number of supervisors did as well. However, state prosecutors who investigated the death didn’t bring any charges. The federal indictment against McIntosh did not allege that he or anyone else directly caused White’s death.
McIntosh’s trial was scheduled for next week. He faces up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Sentencing guidelines call for two to 2.5 years in prison. An obstruction of justice charge and a civil rights offense will be dismissed as part of the plea deal.
(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)