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Former Deputy of Harrison County Sheriff’s Department
Charged in Death of Inmate

WASHINGTON – Ryan Michael Teel, a former Deputy of the Harrison County, Miss. Sheriff’s Department, was indicted on charges relating to the circumstances surrounding the death of an inmate, Jessie Lee Williams Jr., who died as a result of injuries sustained at the Harrison County Adult Detention Center on February 4, 2006. The two-count criminal indictment was announced today by Wan J. Kim, Assistant Attorney General of the Civil Rights Division and Dunn Lampton, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Mississippi.

Count one of the indictment alleges that Teel assaulted Williams, thereby depriving him of his constitutionally-protected civil rights. It is further alleged that Teel’s conduct involved an attempt to kill Williams, resulting in his bodily injury and death.

The second count alleges that Teel obstructed justice by falsifying an official report with intent to obstruct an investigation into the assault on Williams.

If convicted, Teel faces a maximum penalty of life in prison on count one of the indictment, and a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a fine of $250,000 on count two.

A criminal indictment represents an accusation only, and that all criminal defendants in every criminal case are entitled to the presumption of innocence unless or until otherwise proven guilty.

Assistant Attorney General Kim and U.S. Attorney Lampton commended the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation for spearheading and devoting significant resources to this investigation.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Jack Lacey, and Special Litigation Counsel Lisa Krigsten and Trial Attorney John Richmond from the Civil Rights Division are prosecuting this case for the government.