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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of Missouri

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, September 22, 2014

Another U.S. Medical Center Supervisor Pleads Guilty to Concealing Assault on Inmate

 

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Tammy Dickinson, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that a second supervisor at the U.S. Medical Center for Federal Prisoners in Springfield, Mo., pleaded guilty in federal court today to dissuading an inmate at the facility from reporting an assault by a correctional officer.

Justin K. Flowers, 39, of Ozark, Mo., pleaded guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge David P. Rush to dissuading a federal inmate from reporting the possible commission of a federal offense. In a separate but related case, James C. Myrick, 42, of Nixa, Mo., pleaded guilty to the same offense on Wednesday, Sept. 17, 2014.

According to today’s plea agreement, Shawn Springer, an inmate at the U.S. Medical Center for Federal Prisoners, was struck by a correctional officer, identified as Officer D.P., on Dec. 3, 2012. The incident occurred while Springer was in the lieutenants’ office, which Flowers and Myrick shared. Springer had been involved in a dispute with a nurse, the wife of the correctional officer, the prior day.

Flowers and Myrick have each admitted that, immediately after the incident, they encouraged Springer not to tell anyone that he was struck in the head by Officer D.P. Springer was offered improved cell accommodations for his silence. After leaving the lieutenants’ office, Springer was moved to a cell where he had access to a television. As a result of Flowers and Myrick’s inducement, Springer told a nurse that he had hit his head while cleaning his bunk, instead of telling the nurse that he was hit in the head by Officer D.P. in their presence.

The next day, Springer reported to a psychologist that he had been assaulted by Officer D.P. During the investigation that followed, Myrick and Flowers each submitted a memo that claimed Springer’s head injury was pre-existing and made no mention of Officer D.P. using force on Springer. This statement was contradicted by other staff members who provided sworn affidavits that supported the conclusion that Springer’s injury was not pre-existing to his visit to their office.

An investigator from the U.S. Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General was dispatched to the Federal Medical Center and interviewed Flowers, Myrick and others. Flowers and Myrick each initially claimed no force was used on Springer. They claimed that Springer’s injury was pre-existing. Myrick later admitted that he failed to report that Springer had been struck by Officer D.P. in his office.  He also admitted that his original memo was intentionally misleading.

Officer D.P. admitted striking Springer but denied trying to conceal the matter. Officer D.P. told the investigator that he asked if a memo was required and was told by Myrick that it wasn’t required. In a subsequent interview, Flowers then admitted his statements from the first interview were false and that his original memo was intentionally misleading. Flowers stated that Officer D.P. had in fact struck Springer.

Under federal statutes, Flowers and Myrick are each subject to a sentence of up to three years in federal prison without parole, plus a fine up to $250,000. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the United States Probation Office.

These cases are being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Abram McGull, II. They were investigated by the U.S. Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General and the U.S. Medical Center for Federal Prisoners – Special Investigation Unit.
Updated January 9, 2015