U.S. Department of Justice
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November 2, 2015

Two Former Jailers at the Kentucky River Regional Jail Indicted on Charges Related to the Death of a Pretrial Detainee

The Justice Department announced today that a federal grand jury in London, Kentucky, has indicted two former deputy jailers at the Kentucky River Regional Jail on charges related to the July 9, 2013, in-custody death of Larry Trent, a pretrial detainee at the jail. The indictment charges Damon Hickman, 38, and William Howell, 59, with causing Trent’s death, and charges Hickman with attempting to cover up his involvement in the death.

Hickman and Howell are charged with federal civil rights violations for depriving Trent of his civil rights. Count one of the indictment charges Hickman and Howell of failing to provide Trent with necessary medical care after he was injured, thereby acting with deliberate indifference to a substantial risk of harm to Trent, which resulted in Trent’s death. Count two of the indictment also charges both defendants with using excessive force against Trent, resulting in bodily injury to him.

Hickman is additionally charged with one count of obstruction of justice for falsifying an official log by indicating that observations of Trent were being made and that Trent was “10-4,” meaning that he was safe and not in obvious physical distress, when in fact Trent was not “10-4.”

Hickman and Howell face a maximum penalty of life in prison for the death-resulting civil rights offense, and face a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison for assaulting Trent. Hickman faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison for falsification of records in a federal investigation.

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

The case is being investigated by the FBI’s London Resident Agency, with assistance provided by the Kentucky State Police. The case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorney Sanjay Patel of the Civil Rights Division’s Criminal Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Hydee Hawkins of the Eastern District of Kentucky.

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