Ex-guard admits lying about prison attack

Maryland

September 28, 2006|By Brent Jones | Brent Jones,Sun reporter

A former correctional officer and supervisor admitted in Baltimore Circuit Court yesterday to lying to high-ranking officials at the downtown booking center when he said he could not remember names or faces of workers involved in a deadly attack on a detainee last year.

The withholding of information cost the job of Robert Hudley, a correctional officer for 20 years and a lieutenant at the Central Booking and Intake Center. Hudley testified to being one of the first supervisors to show up when a 51-year-old detainee got into a verbal and physical altercation with several lower-ranking correctional officers.

Hudley said that by the time he arrived, Raymond K. Smoot, who was later beaten to death, was sitting on a bed inside the cell. Hudley said he ordered three officers to put Smoot on the ground and handcuff him.

Hudley said he met with the commissioner of corrections and the warden the day after the attack. Hudley said he told them he could not remember who was involved because his memory was failing him, drawing a lecture from the commissioner.

In court, Margaret Mead, attorney for former correctional officer Dameon C. Woods, read part of the transcript from the meeting, including a section in which the commissioner called Hudley's version of the attack "pitiful" and said, "I do not believe what you're saying." Hudley was suspended after the meeting.

Days later, Hudley told investigators that Woods and James L. Hatcher were involved in the attack. Woods, Hatcher and Nathan D. Colbert are charged with second-degree murder.

Yesterday, prosecutors recalled an ex-correctional officer who defense attorneys allege held a meeting the night after the attack to coordinate a cover-up.

Jamile Boles said in court that he failed to identify to the commissioner and warden any officers involved in the attack, though he changed his story the next day and named Woods and Hatcher.

"I told the commissioner I didn't see anyone," Boles said in a heated exchange with defense lawyer Mead. "The reason why is that I did not want to be the one up in this position now. Woods and Hatcher are good friends of mine. I have nothing against them. ... But I saw Woods stomp him. I saw Hatcher hit him several times. The reason I came forward is because it's the right thing to do."

brent.jones@baltsun.com

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