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Ex-Guard Gets 20 Years for Inmate Death

December 13, 2006

BALTIMORE (AP) _ A former correctional officer convicted in the beating death of an inmate was sentenced Tuesday to 20 years in prison.

Dameon Woods was convicted of second-degree murder, depraved heart, for the death of Smoot last year at Baltimore’s Central Booking facility. The charge differs from second-degree murder in that it is not intentional and requires an extreme disregard for human life.

``I can learn to forgive you for this,″ Diana Smoot, the sister of slain inmate Raymond Smoot said as she looked directly at Woods.

Smoot was beaten and stomped in his cell at the Baltimore Central Booking and Intake Center in May 2005 after officers had trouble getting him back into his cell. The altercation grew into a melee involving other correctional officers.

Woods was one of three correctional officers charged in Smoot’s death. One was acquitted, and charges against the other were dismissed. In all, eight officers were fired after the fatal beating.

Defense attorney Margaret Mead said she will appeal the sentence because her client is innocent.

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