HAGERSTOWN, Md. (AP) — Two more former Maryland prison guards have pleaded guilty to federal conspiracy charges in the 2008 beating of an inmate at the medium-security Roxbury Correctional Institution near Hagerstown, the Justice Department says.

Former correctional officer Walter Steele pleaded guilty Thursday in U.S. District Court in Baltimore to conspiring to obstruct an investigation into an assault by officers on inmate Kenneth J. Davis. Steele faces up to 10 years in prison at his sentencing July 9.

Former sergeant Lanny Harris pleaded guilty to conspiring to assault Davis. He faces up to five years at his sentencing Aug. 2.

They are the fourth and fifth officers to plead guilty in the case. Ten others are awaiting trial.

The charges come from a beating in March 2008 meant to punish Davis for scuffling with an officer during a routine cell check. Davis spent four days in a hospital for injuries including a broken nose and fractures in his back and ribs, according to records of state court proceedings in 2009 and 2010.

The federal documents refer to the victim only as “K.D.” It is clear from the details of the cases, including the names of some of the federal defendants, that the victim was Davis, now 46.

He was serving a 19-year sentence for robbery at the time of the assaults. He is no longer in prison.

Former officers Philip Mayo, Ryan Lohr and Dustin Norris have also pleaded guilty to federal charges.

Norris was among nine officers charged in Washington County Circuit Court in 2009 with assaulting Davis. The only two convicted in state court, Lucas Kelly and Timothy Mellott, pleaded guilty to second-degree assault charges and testified against the others, breaking what Mellott called the “brotherhood of silence.”

Five were acquitted by juries, one had charges dropped before trial and one had charges dropped after his trial ended in a hung jury.

(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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