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Florida prison guards face felony charges over collapse of inmate

TALLAHASSEE — Two state prison guards have been fired and face felony charges following the collapse of an inmate in May.

Correctional Officers James Barry, 41, of Bell, and Michael Devanie, 44, of Trenton, were charged following a six-month investigation by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and Department of Corrections. The two men have been on paid leave since the incident occurred.

On May 24, the agencies said, inmate Samuel Dread collapsed at Lancaster Correctional Institution near Gainesville while he was taking part in an exercise program.

An investigation revealed that the officers forced Dread to perform strenuous exercises in the sand and heat and provided no water breaks, denied his request for medical help and failed to call for emergency help after Dread collapsed.

Investigators said Barry ordered other guards to provide them with inaccurate accounts of what happened.

Both ex-officers face one count of malicious battery or cruel and inhuman treatment of an inmate causing great bodily harm, a third-degree felony. Barry also faces a charge of witness tampering.

Steve Bousquet can be reached at bousquet@sptimes.com.

Florida prison guards face felony charges over collapse of inmate 12/01/10 [Last modified: Wednesday, December 1, 2010 10:47pm]

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