Former WICC Guards Have Trial Delayed

By Benjamin Cox on May 13, 2020 at 11:31am

Three Correctional Officers indicted in the 2018 death of an inmate at the Mt. Sterling Western Illinois Correctional Facility are having their trial delayed.

Lawyers for Alex Banta of Quincy, Todd Sheffler of Mendon, and Willie Hedden of Mt. Sterling had a motion to continue their trial in U.S. District Court in Springfield back on April 28th. The men first appeared in U.S. District Court back in December for the reading of their indictment.

The three men are accused of assaulting 65 year old inmate Larry Earvin at the prison on May 17th, 2018 while transferring him to a segregated prison unit. Earvin suffered broken ribs, a punctured colon, and other serious internal injuries, which he died from six weeks later. The death was later ruled a homicide by a Clinton County medical examiner who performed Earvin’s autopsy.

The indictment also claims the 3 former guards filed false incident reports and lied to the Illinois State Police during an internal investigation of the incident.

Hedden also allegedly persuaded a fellow employee at the correctional facility to delete a text message he had sent to them after the incident.

The three men have been charged with two counts of Conspiracy, Deprivation of Civil Rights, Obstruction, Falsifying a Document, and Misleading Conduct. Hedden is also being charged with one count of destruction of a record or object.

The jury trial for the three former guards is scheduled for August 4th with a pretrial conference set for July 22nd according to district court records.

The men could get up to life in prison if convicted.

All three are free on a $100,000 recognizance bond.