Jail officials say inmate Edwin Beaty has an attitude problem. He became so disruptive, they say, that they could no longer take it, so they sent him from the west-side jail in New Port Richey to the east-side jail in Dade City.
But Beaty, who regularly files grievances with the Pasco County Sheriff's Office about his treatment at the jail, says west-side jail officials just want to get rid of him and deny him his right to complain.
Beaty, who has been in jail since May, is accused of being the trigger man in the murder-for-hire shooting death of Stanley Kerr.
Kerr's wife, Rosemary, is charged with requesting the murder, and the confessed middle man, Wayne Cady, has agreed to testify against Mrs. Kerr and Beaty in exchange for a 40-year sentence.
Beaty said he has been afraid to go to the East Pasco jail for several reasons: His attorney would be too far away; his co-defendant, Cady, who is testifying against him, had been at the east-side jail;
and he thinks there is a contract out on his life there.
In fact, in December, Judge Brandt C. Downey III ordered that Beaty stay in New Port Richey.
On Monday, Assistant Public Defender Douglas Loeffler tried to have sheriff's officials charged with contempt of court for violating that order.
But Downey said he gave officials permission to move Beaty when the warden told him Friday that it would be best for everyone concerned.
"The people at the jail feel that they need time out from each other, and they have to let Beaty know he isn't going to call the shots at the jail," Judge Downey said. "I'm not going to try to tell (Sheriff) Jim Gillum how to run the jail."
Sheriff's officials say that Beaty is a "problem child," that he is difficult to deal with and that since he has been in the East Pasco Detention Center he has destroyed part of the jail.
Beaty and Loeffler say jail officials don't like Beaty because he files grievances and makes their lives difficult.
"I'm not aware of anything that would justify putting him over there," Loeffler said. "Other than to get him out of their hair and maybe he won't file any more of these written grievances. So he's being punished for airing his views."
Beaty has been charged with battery on a law enforcement officer for an incident that happened in the jail, although Beaty denies hitting the officer.
Another guard was fired because he harassed Beaty. Sheriff's officials say that proves they do not allow mistreatment of inmates.
Beaty's sister, Sandra Nagle, said that when Beaty was sent to East Pasco on Friday, he was told he was being punished because of the grievances.
"They treat him like a caged dog," she said. "He's fighting for his life in there, and if they think that punishing him will shut him up, they're wrong. He knows the rules and he's going to make sure they do too."
Sheriff's legal counsel Lee Cannon told Judge Downey that the Sheriff's Office was not going to let Beaty run the jail, and that they were tired of putting up with his disruptive behavior.
"His grievances are about his treatment by officers," Cannon said. "We do not tolerate any abuse or mistreatment of inmates. Mr. Beaty has not been convicted and we realize that. Nevertheless, he is not an ideal inmate and has caused us a lot of grief."
Downey said that he thinks none of Beaty's rights was violated by sending him to Dade City and that the move had nothing to do with the grievances.
"If he wants to file a grievance, he can file one a minute if he wants and the Sheriff's Office has to respond," Downey said, "but he can't become a disruptive force in the jail."