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Press Release

Former Stone County Arkansas Deputy and Two Former Inmates at the Stone County Jail Indicted for Violating Inmate’s Civil Rights

For Immediate Release
Office of Public Affairs

Former Stone County Arkansas Deputy and jail administrator, Randel Branscum, 54, and two former inmates at the Stone County Jail, Matthew McConniel, 42, and James Beckham, 34, have been indicted on charges of conspiracy to violate the rights of inmates at the jail and deprivation of rights under color of law, the Justice Department announced.  The indictments were unsealed on Nov. 6, 2014.

The indictment alleges that on or about Sept. 19, 2011, Branscum conspired with McConniel and Beckham to have inmates at the Stone County Jail physically assaulted.  Branscum, in his capacity as jail administrator, ordered two inmates be transferred into McConniel and Beckham’s cell.  Once the inmate transfer had been completed, McConniel and Beckham assaulted one of the inmates, causing bodily injury to him.        

If convicted of both counts in the indictment, each defendant faces a maximum statutory sentence of 20 years in prison.

An indictment is merely an accusation, and the defendants in this case are presumed innocent unless proven guilty.

This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and is being prosecuted by Trial Attorneys Henry Leventis and Samantha Trepel of the Civil Rights Division.

Updated August 21, 2015

Press Release Number: 14-1244