Second Western IL Prison Guard Sentenced in 2018 Inmate Beating Case

By Benjamin Cox on March 20, 2023 at 3:55pm

The second in a trio of former Illinois prison guards at Western Illinois Correctional Facility was sentenced today in federal court.

54 year old Todd Sheffler of Mendon was sentenced to 20 years in federal prison in the beating death of 65 year old inmate Larry Earvin in 2018. Sheffler was re-tried on charges in August after a jury failed to reach a verdict last April. The jury convicted Sheffler of conspiracy to deprive the civil rights, deprivation of civil rights, conspiracy to engage in misleading conduct, falsification of a document and misleading conduct.

Sheffler, a lieutenant at the Mt. Sterling prison, was said to have joined the group escorting Earvin, who had been placed in handcuffs to a segregation unit after he allegedly became belligerent. Security footage showed Earvin walking on his own into the vestibule of the segregation unit, where there were no cameras. Minutes later, Earvin was carried to the segregation cage, nearly unresponsive, bleeding from the head and vomiting. Earvin would die weeks later at St. John’s Hospital in Springfield.

Sheffler was given the sentence by federal Judge Sue E. Myerscough along with 5 years of mandatory supervised release, and ordered to pay a $500 special assessment.

Sheffler’s co-defendant in the April trial, correctional officer Alex Banta, received an identical sentence on Friday last week. The final member of the group, 43 year old former sergeant Willie Hedden of Mt. Sterling who pleaded guilty in March 2021 and cooperated with the federal government in their case against Sheffler and Banta, is scheduled to be sentenced on Wednesday.