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Prison Guards Convicted in Beating

May 1, 2002

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PHILADELPHIA (AP) _ Three prison guards were convicted and three others found innocent Wednesday in the beating of an inmate planning to snitch on one of their own.

Donti Hunter, 20, was punched and kicked by guards at the Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility, according to testimony. He required 19 stitches to close cuts on his scalp and face.

Former prison guards Reginald Steptoe, 38, and Cornell Tyler, 39, were found guilty of depriving Hunter of his civil rights in the March 1999 beating. Two other guards, Albert Payne, 39, and Anthony Black, 33, were found innocent of the same charges.

The jury found now-retired prison Sgt. Dennis Hardeman, 60, innocent of charges he did nothing to stop the beating. Glen Guadalupe, 40, who was deputy warden of the prison at the time, was found guilty of one count of obstruction of justice and innocent of another count of obstruction.

All six defendants were found innocent of conspiracy charges.

Guadalupe faces 24 to 30 months in prison; Steptoe and Tyler each face 57 to 71 months. Sentencing was scheduled for September.

The guards said the fight broke out after Hunter attempted to flush marijuana down the toilet in his cell during a shakedown. Hunter admitted trying to flush the marijuana but said he was beaten in retaliation for his planned testimony against a prison guard who allegedly helped him escape from a youth facility in the mid-1990s, prosecutors said.

Hunter is serving a 10-year sentence for heading a violent drug gang. He is now in a federal prison in Lewisburg.

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