Seven Guards Convicted In Beatings Of Inmates
Oct. 23, 1985
TRENTON, N.J. (AP) _ Jurors rejected defense arguments that seven Trenton State Prison guards were making a show of force in hitting inmates last year and convicted the guards of official misconduct.
The Mercer County Superior Court jury also found six of the guards guilty of conspiracy. An eighth defendant was acquitted of both charges.
According to the prosecution, 13 inmates were abused May 15, 1984, at the state's only maximum-security prison by as many as two dozen guards, some in riot gear, who kicked and hit them with their fists and nightsticks.
Inmates testified that they were forced to run past guards who taunted, pushed and hit them and that they were ordered to dance and chant degrading statements.
Authorities said 15 inmates had incited a group demonstration by encouraging other inmates to skip dinner because liver was on the menu.
Defense attorneys acknowledged that some inmates were hit by some guards but maintained that their clients committed no crimes. Several defense attorneys said the guards used a show of force to control the inmates.
Convicted of conspiracy and official misconduct were James R. Foussadier, 22, of Willingboro; Alphonsus J. Jasinskas, 33, of Riverside; Capt. John C. Adams Jr., 54, of Burlington; Lt. Stephen J. Dobron, 49, of Langhorne, Pa.; Sgt. Donald Lewis, 36, of Toms River; and Capt. Joe N. Rhym, 46, of Trenton.
Stephen Corbezzolo, 23, of Edgewater Park, was convicted of official misconduct but acquitted of conspiracy. Gregory A. Robinson, 31, of Trenton, was acquitted of both charges.
Deputy Attorney General Edward Neafsey said during his summation Thursday that the guards acted ''above the law.''
''Just because the victims of this crime were in jail when this occurred doesn't mean that they don't get protection of the law,'' he said.
Neafsey said some of the corrections officers conspired to cover up the assaults.
Judge Judith Yaskin said the defendants would be sentenced in 12 to 14 weeks.