Tuesday, August 20, 2002

Deputy jailer in Boyd indicted in beating of inmate who died

By The Associated Press

        ASHLAND, Ky. - A federal grand jury has charged a Boyd County deputy jailer with assaulting an inmate who died more than three weeks after a severe beating.

        Robert Raymond Price, 36, of Ashland has been the only person indicted in the death of Chad Ray Boggess, who was beaten while in the Boyd County Detention Center on March 17.

        A spokeswoman in the U.S. attorney's office in Lexington wouldn't comment on whether additional indictments are being sought.

        The indictment unsealed Monday alleges that Mr. Price, while serving as a jailer, assaulted Mr. Boggess, resulting in bodily injury.

        If found guilty, Mr. Price faces up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.

        Mr. Boggess' mother, Joyce Boggess of Charleston, W.Va., said she and her family expected more serious charges to be brought in the case.

        “We are furious and outraged,” she said. “We're just in disbelief. The family is just shocked. He had three gashes on his head. He was covered in bruises from his head to his toes. The side of his face was stomped in.”

        Amnesty International, a human rights group, called for a thorough investigation of the death.

        U.S. Attorney Gregory F. Van Tatenhove said Monday that the indictment unsealed Monday “sends a strong message about our communities' commitment to everyone's civil rights. When supported by the evidence, this office will aggressively hold those who commit criminal acts of official misconduct accountable.”

        Ms. Boggess called Mr. Van Tatenhove's comment laughable.

        “I think that kind of justice we could live without,” she said. “They call that justice; I think it's a joke.”

        Boyd County Coroner Philip Neal ruled the inmate's death a homicide.

        Mr. Neal concluded that Mr. Boggess, 27, of Charleston, died because he was placed face down on the floor with his hands shackled behind him, causing strangulation.

        Mr. Boggess died at King's Daughters Medical Center on April 11, 26 days after he was injured.

        He had been jailed March 15 on a fugitive warrant from Kanawha County, W.Va., for an alleged home robbery in Charleston.

        Mr. Neal's report says that while it may have taken 26 days for Chad Boggess to die of his injuries, the fatal incident occurred at the jail. Mr. Neal said the deceased inmate suffered “blunt force injuries of the head,” which contributed to the death.

        Mr. Price was placed on administrative leave after the incident, along with two other deputy jailers. They, along with Jailer Bob Stevens, have been named as defendants in a wrongful-death lawsuit filed by Mr. Boggess' widow, Wanda.

        Mr. Price, who declined to comment, is scheduled for arraignment Aug. 26 in U.S. District Court in Ashland.


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