SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Tammy Dickinson, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that an officer 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.
James C. Myrick, 42, of Nixa, 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.
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 office Myrick shared with another lieutenant. Springer had been involved in a dispute with a nurse, the wife of the correctional officer, earlier that day.
Myrick admitted that, immediately after the incident, he 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 Myrick’s office, Springer was moved to a cell where he had access to a television. As a result of 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 Myrick’s presence.
The next day, Springer reported to a psychologist that he had been assaulted by Officer D.P. During the investigation that followed, Myrick 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 Myrick’s office.
An investigator from the U.S. Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General was dispatched to the Federal Medical Center and interviewed Myrick and others. Myrick initially claimed no force was used on Springer, but 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 Myrick if a memo was required and Myrick told him no.
Under federal statutes, Myrick is 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.This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Abram McGull, II. It was 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.