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Press Release

Former Deputy Jailer at Kentucky River Regional Jail Sentenced to 108 Months in Prison for Assault of Inmate and Obstruction of Justice

For Immediate Release
Office of Public Affairs

A former supervisory deputy jailer at the Kentucky River Regional Jail has been sentenced to 108 months in federal prison and three years of supervised release related to his role in an unprovoked violent assault of a detainee who was being held at the jail, and for subsequently covering up the beating.                                           

Yesterday, United States District Judge Karen K. Caldwell formally sentenced Kevin Eugene Asher, 32, on his conviction.  Under federal law, Asher must serve 85 percent of his prison sentence.  Following the completion of his prison term, he will be under the supervision of the United States Probation Office for the London, KY office of the Eastern District of Kentucky. 

On April 12, 2017, a jury convicted 32-year-old Kevin Asher of deprivation of civil rights under color of law, and obstruction of justice.  

According to evidence and testimony presented during the jury trial, in November 2012, Asher and another deputy jailer, Damon Wayne Hickman, physically assaulted Gary Hill, a 55-year-old inmate who was being held following an arrest for a misdemeanor charge of disorderly conduct.  

According to testimony, Deputies Asher and Hickman approached Hill after Hill had run the faucet in his jail cell to the point where water had spilled out onto the floor.  Hickman testified at trial that he punched Hill in the face, causing Hill to fall onto the floor.  Hickman further testified that while Hill was curled up in a fetal position, he and Asher began kicking Hill.  Asher and Hickman then immobilized Hill in a restraint chair and Hickman continued to beat him.  Evidence established that following the brutal assault, the deputies failed to obtain any medical treatment for Hill who had received numerous injuries.  

The jury also found that Asher obstructed justice by filling out an incident report at the jail in which he falsely claimed that Hill had slipped and fallen onto the floor and that no physical force had been used against him. 

The Kentucky River Regional Jail houses pre-trial detainees from Perry and Knott Counties.  As a supervisory deputy jailer, Asher was responsible for the custody, care, safety and control of the inmates at the jail. 

Carlton S. Shier, IV, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Kentucky; John M. Gore, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division; and Amy Hess, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, jointly made today’s announcement. 

“Nothing justifies or excuses the defendant’s outrageous conduct in this case,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General John Gore.  “When deputy jailers make the corrupt choice to violate our Constitution and laws, the Justice Department will prosecute such misconduct, just as it did here.”

“This type of criminal conduct not only causes real injuries to victims, but tarnishes the work of truly dedicated law enforcement personnel,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Carlton Shier.  “Prosecuting this type of disgraceful conduct is critical to making our communities safer.  We simply must hold officials accountable for violations of the public trust that was placed in them.”

“Law enforcement officers are given tremendous power to enforce the law and ensure justice. Preventing abuse of this authority is necessary to protect the rights of our citizens and maintain confidence in law enforcement,” said Amy Hess, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Louisville Office. “Mr. Asher’s sentence shows that the FBI will aggressively investigate color of law and civil rights violations, to hold those with the responsibility for upholding the law accountable to it.”

The investigation was conducted by the FBI and the Kentucky State Police.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Hydee Hawkins of the United States Attorney’s Office and Trial Attorney Sanjay Patel of the Civil Rights Division prosecuted this case on behalf of the federal government.  

Updated October 20, 2017

Civil Rights
Press Release Number: 17-1169