Three Illinois Department of Corrections guards formerly employed at Western Illinois Correctional Facility in Mt. Sterling are facing life imprisonment in connection to a prisoner in 2018 while 6 of their co-workers involved in the incident continue to work and have been promoted and received pay raises.
The Illinois Associated Press reports that former Officer Alex Banta and Lieutenant Todd Sheffler, who were found guilty by a federal jury, and a third, Sergeant Willie Hedden who pleaded guilty 18 months ago to beating and then lying about the incident leading to the death of inmate Larry Earvin all face life imprisonment in sentencing sometime later this year. However, 6 of their co-workers who all admitted under oath that initially, they lied to authorities investigating Earvin’s death, including to the Illinois State Police and the FBI, have largely gone unpunished for their involvement with at least 3 being promoted and receiving pay raises.
Documents obtained by The AP under the Illinois Freedom of Information Act indicate that none of the guards has been punished for the coverup. Despite admitting their indiscretions, Lieutenants Matthew Lindsey and Blake Haubrich, Sergeants Derek Hasten, Brett Hendricks ,and Shawn Volk and Officer Richard Waterstraat have done well – three have been promoted, one has been on paid leave, and on average, they’ve seen salary hikes of nearly 30% and increases in pension benefits.
In a response for request for comment by the AP, IDOC representatives say “all appropriate steps” to punish misconduct will be taken and the department has no authority “to take past wages from an employee or impair a pension.”
All of the officers have been named as federal civil litigants in multiple cases, including one brought by the Earvin family.