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Bond not reduced for 4 in jailhouse death

January 9, 2019
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Messer

CATLETTSBURG, Ky. — A $100,000 cash bond for four male deputy jailers accused of first-degree manslaughter will remain the same, according to the order Tuesday of Boyd County Circuit Judge George B. Davis III.

Davis did lower the bond for Alicia Leora Beller, of Putnam County, West Virginia, to $50,000 and allowed her to post 10 percent of it through a surety bond that would allow her to be freed on bond until the case is settled.

The judge took note of the testimony of Jeffrey Kelley, a Kentucky State Police detective investigating the death in the jail of Michael Moore, 40, last Nov. 29. Video from inside the jail showed the actions of the deputy jailers Zachary D. Messer, of Ashland; Brad A. Roberts, of Westwood, Kentucky; Jeremy F. Mattox, of Grayson, Kentucky; and Colton L. Griffith, of Flatwoods, Kentucky.

Lawyers representing the five defendants asked for the hearing to request a lower bond for their clients. The defendants are charged with first-degree manslaughter. The charge carries a maximum sentence, upon conviction, of 10 to 20 years in prison.

Kelley testified that Moore died from internal bleeding caused by blunt-force trauma to his side which fractured three ribs. The fatal injury took place in a restroom adjacent to the booking room at the jail, according to the detective.

“They each, at the end of their interviews, acknowledged that they used too much force, except for Ms. Beller,” Kelley said. “They each acknowledged that they knew that he was being abused by the other deputies, including Ms. Beller. She acknowledged that as well, and they each acknowledged that once they realized that Mr. Moore was, had been, injured and needed medical assistance, nobody called for medical assistance.”

In his eight-page ruling, Davis also acknowledged testimony from Kelley that Griffith and Messer threw Moore into the toilet seat.

Davis said the occurrence in the restroom was apparently not a sudden, isolated event. The judge, citing testimony by Kelley, said in the order that the victim was slammed into a wall and thrown across the room by Messer, causing Moore to fall over a restraint chair.

“It was apparent during all of these events the defendants were engaged in laughter,” Davis said.

The actions of the four male deputy jailers make it unwarranted to release them on an unsecured bond, according to the judge.

The four defendants “pose a danger to others and further security and restrictions are required to ensure the appearances of the defendant and to protect the public, and the bond shall remain unchanged,” Davis said.

The deputy jailers are being housed at other Kentucky jails while the case is ongoing.

Moore was brought into the Boyd County Detention Center last Nov. 27 by Ashland police on a charge of public intoxication excluding alcohol.

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