Former Illinois prison guard gets 20-year sentence for fatal beating

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A federal choose has sentenced a former jail guard to twenty years for becoming a member of at the least two different guards in fatally beating 65-year-old Larry Earvin to dying on the Western Illinois Correctional Heart and trying to cowl it up.

Alex Banta, 31, informed the choose at his sentencing listening to in Springfield Thursday that he took the jail job when he was 23 to help his girlfriend and little one and had “no thought how this job was going to vary me.”

He mentioned he was educated by superiors that there could be issues that occurred inside that he ought to ignore and that he shouldn’t put something about fellow guards into studies. Banta mentioned he realized that “in case you don’t personally give payback to those guys, you retain your mouth shut about it.”

In handing down the sentence, U.S. District Choose Sue Myerscough acknowledged the tradition of violence on the facility however mentioned the proof confirmed the guards beat Earvin whereas he was handcuffed and posed no menace, in an space with out video cameras.

Myerscough mentioned Banta delivered essentially the most severe blow, “leaping up within the air and touchdown with each knees” on Earvin, who suffered 15 rib fractures, a punctured colon and accidents from head to toe.

Banta then repeatedly lied concerning the assault, the choose famous.

Earvin’s killing was half of a bigger sample of abuse on the jail uncovered by WBEZ. Testimony on the trial confirmed guards protected one another and regarded the opposite method when abuse occurred, and self-discipline techniques failed repeatedly.

Banta’s attorneys requested the choose for a 10-year sentence. Prosecutors had requested for all times.

Earvin’s brother Willie Earvin testified that the 2 boys have been shut as youngsters and even shared a mattress. He mentioned he was glad his dad and mom didn’t reside lengthy sufficient to know what occurred to their son.

“What sort of individual does it take to assault a 65-year-old man that’s handcuffed?” Willie Earvin mentioned on the stand.

Larry Earvin’s son Larry Pippion additionally addressed the courtroom, saying the therapy of his father was stunning.

“It’s been overwhelming,” Pippion mentioned. “Particularly when my youngsters have questions.”

A federal jury convicted Banta in April of 2022 of conspiracy to deprive civil rights, deprivation of civil rights, obstruction of an investigation, falsification of a doc and deceptive conduct.

Two different former guards concerned within the beating and cover-up are awaiting sentencing. Todd Sheffler of Mendon is scheduled to be sentenced March 20 and Willie Hedden, of Mount Sterling, on March 22. Hedden pleaded responsible and cooperated with prosecutors, which might lead to a lighter sentence.

Banta’s four-week trial in spring of 2022 revealed systemic issues at Western Illinois Correctional Heart. Quite a few guards testified they witnessed the beating, however admitted they didn’t report it and even lied to state police about it.

A WBEZ investigation discovered Earvin was crushed in an notorious a part of the jail the place employees routinely abused prisoners as a result of they knew there have been no safety cameras. An inside affairs report, written by a jail official, flagged the shortage of video at that location in 2017, greater than a yr earlier than the killing of Earvin.

Earlier than Earvin’s dying, 9 different prisoners accused employees of beating them in a blind spot, together with Roger Latimer, who informed native prosecutors, state officers and healthcare employees he was crushed by Banta in a vestibule with no cameras.

When he heard about Eavin’s dying, he was disturbed by the same particulars. “It’s so upsetting as a result of I attempted to succeed in out,” Latimer mentioned.

Earvin lived with psychological sickness and was homeless on the time he dedicated the crime that put him behind bars for 3 years.

In accordance with a police report, he stole watches from a hospital reward store, then tried to promote them on the road to a girl. He and the lady agreed on a worth – $11 – and as she was handing over the money, he grabbed it, smacked her hand and began strolling away.

Earvin died on June 26, 2018 from blunt trauma to the chest and stomach, just some months earlier than he was scheduled to be launched. He was buried in an unmarked grave.

Larry Pippion famous his father’s psychological sickness and requested, “Why was he incarcerated within the first place for such a petty theft … Why couldn’t he have been helped as a substitute of thrown away?”

Delivering the sentence, Myerscough mentioned by tears that Earvin’s “incarceration with psychological sickness is an indictment of our system.”

Former Illinois prison guard gets 20-year sentence for fatal beating

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