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Illinois prison guards’ trial in fatal inmate beating opens

Larry Earvin
This undated file photo provided by the Illinois Department of Corrections shows Larry Earvin, a former inmate at Western Illinois Correctional Center in Mt Sterling, Ill. The civil rights trial of two former Illinois Department of Corrections officers accused of fatally beating Earvin in May 2018 begins with opening statements Monday, March 28, 2022.

SPRINGFIELD — A federal prosecutor says three Illinois state prison guards brutally beat a handcuffed 65-year-old inmate and conspired to cover it up.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Timothy Bass opened the trial Monday of Illinois Department of Corrections officers Todd Sheffler and Alex Banta.

They are charged with civil rights violations and falsifying records in the May 17, 2018 beating of Larry Earvin at Western Illinois Correctional Center in Mount Sterling.

A third officer, Willie Hedden, pleaded guilty last year and is scheduled to testify for the government.

Defense attorneys for Sheffler and Banta said that there is conflicting evidence about when the beating occurred and who was involved and that witnesses’ testimony changed as time passed.

 

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Associated Press

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