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Press Release

Correctional Center Lieutenant Admits to Federal Charge for Depriving Inmate of Civil Rights

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of Illinois
Lauren Barry, Public Affairs Officer

EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. – A Pinckneyville Correctional Center acting lieutenant appeared in federal court Wednesday to admit he failed to intervene while his subordinates beat a restrained inmate.

Mark C. Maxwell, 52, of Pinckneyville, Illinois, faces up to 10 years in federal prison after pleading guilty to one count of deprivation of civil rights under color of law. He was charged for standing by while two other correctional officers punched and kicked an inmate who was handcuffed and shackled in leg irons. The victim suffered a fractured orbital socket, a partially collapsed lung, and needed 25 stitches to close lacerations to his face.

Under federal law, officers have a duty to intervene if a fellow officer uses excessive force.

Cord A. Williams, 35, of Vergennes, Illinois, and Christian L. Pyles, 25, of Christopher, Illinois, were also charged in the same indictment as Maxwell and have each pleaded guilty to violation of civil rights under color of law, conspiracy to obstruct justice, and obstruction of justice.

The charges arose from an incident in which an inmate was beaten while fully restrained in handcuffs and leg irons on April 24, 2022. According to court documents, the beating occurred to punish the inmate, because the inmate had previously punched a different correctional officer.

Maxwell’s sentencing is scheduled for Feb. 21, 2023.

The Illinois State Police is leading the investigation, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven D. Weinhoeft is prosecuting the case.

Updated November 9, 2023