Jail Bait

A prisoner was nearly beaten to death behind bars for a crime he didn't commit. Was he set up by Sheriff Joe's henchmen?

In the investigation report of the beating, deputies note that inmates are standing in the same spot "clearly to avoid being seen by the security cameras."

Oddly, though, investigators make no mention of the fact that their fellow officer had to have seen the inmates parading in to assault McGee.

Crane stops 10 feet before the door to McGee's room. He appears to summon two inmates. The prisoners approach him, and the three talk briefly. Crane then goes back out of the maximum-security pod, again walking quickly along an exterior wall to the door of the commons area.

From the extensive analysis of the security video, it appears that the inmates with whom Crane spoke were the chief instigators of the attack on McGee.

Crane has not yet been deposed by McGee's attorneys.

His deposition clearly will be pivotal in determining if any sheriff's officer could have orchestrated the beating of Jefferson Davis McGee.

Eighteen minutes after the attack began, Crane again enters the cellblock. He is carrying a towel. He walks immediately into McGee's cell.

When interviewed by jail personnel investigating the incident, Crane said he discovered McGee during a routine security walk.

Yet the security video clearly shows this can't be true. Crane is seen entering the cellblock with the towel (presumably to mop up blood from the beating) and walking immediately into McGee's cell.

Three minutes later, McGee is seen limping from his cell and out the door of the cellblock.

Crane later claimed he escorted McGee to the jail's infirmary, though the jail security video shows McGee walking alone to the infirmary.

The nurse there examined McGee and quickly realized his stomach was filling with blood. She called an ambulance. McGee collapsed. He was taken to the county hospital, where doctors performed emergency surgery to save his life.

A week later, as McGee tried to recover from the surgery, the real killer was captured. On June 5, a week after the beating, Steven Newell confessed to the kidnapping, rape and murder of Elizabeth Byrd.

When he was released from jail, McGee could barely walk.

A few months later, the theft charges against him were dropped.

Still, although innocent of any crime, he is a ruined man.

McGee still has trouble walking. He is short of breath and exhausted. He can barely do the odd jobs he needs to afford food.

All because he was a scraggly man who lived in a trailer near where a girl was killed.

In the coming months, several more jail personnel will be interviewed by attorneys representing McGee.

The lawyers want to find out who, if anyone, instructed Sergeant Mallaburn and detention officer Crane to feed Jefferson McGee to the wolves.

The key remaining question: Did Arpaio or one of his chief henchmen order the placement of McGee in what they knew would be harm's way?

Even if no more evidence is found that jail personnel intended for McGee to get beaten down, jail personnel clearly showed negligence in their decision to place McGee in a general population of the county's roughest inmates.

Either way, it is another piece of evidence that the sheriff of Maricopa County is not only incompetent, but dangerously out of control.

And, once again, county taxpayers will have to pay in a multimillion-dollar lawsuit.

« Previous Page
 |
 
1
 
2
 
3
 
All
 
My Voice Nation Help
0 comments
 
Loading...