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The Justice Department announced that yesterday a federal jury convicted Michael Smith, 38, a former corrections officer of the Alabama Department of Corrections, of two civil rights violations and five obstruction of justice-related violations in connection with the beating death of former inmate Rocrast Mack.
The incident occurred at Ventress Correctional Facility in Clayton, Ala., on Aug.4, 2010, and at the time of the incident, Smith was a lieutenant with supervisory authority over other officers on his shift. The jury convicted Smith of assaulting Mack with a baton in an office in the prison and of assaulting Mack again several minutes later in the medical unit by repeatedly stomping on Mack’s head. Mack died the following day in a Montgomery, Ala., hospital.
Scottie Glenn, another former corrections officer at Ventress, pleaded guilty on Nov.18, 2011, in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Alabama to one count of violating the civil rights of Mack for his role in the incident and to one count of conspiring with other corrections officers to cover up the beatings. Matthew Davidson, another former corrections officer, pleaded guilty on Jan. 15, 2013, to two civil rights violations and one count of conspiring with other officers to cover up the beatings.
Smith was remanded to the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service pending sentencing. The sentencing hearing is yet to be scheduled. Smith faces a maximum potential penalty of life in prison.
"The jury found that defendant Smith, a high ranking official at Ventress Prison, violently caused the death of an inmate entrusted to his care,” said Deputy Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division Roy L. Austin Jr. “Through its verdict, the jury has vindicated the principle, enforced by the Department of Justice, that no person is above the law. We hope that today’s verdict brings some measure of solace to the family of Rocrast Mack.”
This case was investigated by the Mobile, Ala., Division of the FBI, in partnership with the Alabama Bureau of Investigation, and was prosecuted by Trial Attorney Patricia Sumner of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division and Assistant U.S. Attorney Jerusha Adams of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Alabama.