A man prosecutors described as a confidante of Iberia Parish Sheriff Louis Ackal was sentenced Tuesday to 87 months in federal prison in a wide-ranging federal probe of abuse and cover-ups the Sheriff's Office.
Gerald "Bubba" Savoy's sentence was the stiffest handed down out of the 10 former Sheriff's Office employees who pleaded guilty in the investigation. Seven deputies were sentenced earlier this year, and two others were sentenced Tuesday with Savoy.
Ackal, the main target in the case, was acquitted at trial last year, despite the testimony of deputies who alleged the sheriff ordered abuse and cover-ups and was present during the beating of at least one inmate at the Iberia Parish jail.
A federal jury on Friday found Iberia Parish Sheriff Louis Ackal not guilty on all charges of allowing his deputies to purposefully mistreat black residents of New Iberia and beating jail inmates.
Savoy was a supervisor at the Sheriff's Office, and prosecutor Mark Blumberg told U.S. District Judge Donald Walter on Tuesday that he wielded "outsized influence" on misbehavior by deputies there.
Savoy pleaded guilty last year to participating in the abuse of an inmate at the Iberia Parish Jail on Sept. 27, 2011, but prosecutors had alleged more extensive abuses.
He was accused of sticking a gun in man's mouth and threatening to kill him after the man had assaulted a narcotics agent during an arrest.
As pay-back for a man who had punched him at a bar, Savoy directed narcotics agents to arrest the man on drug charges and later looked on and did nothing as the agents hit the man as he sat shackled to a bench, according to his indictment.
In another instance, he was accused of placing a baton between an inmate's legs and sharply lifting it up, striking the man's testicles.
On Tuesday, Savoy brushed off responsibility for what prosecutors have portrayed as a deep culture of abuse at the Sheriff's Office.
Savoy said he felt remorse for his involvement in the abuse of the inmate in 2011 — the only accusation he admitted to — but also downplayed the incident, saying he was trying to control an unruly prisoner.
Two other former Sheriff's Office deputies were also sentenced Tuesday.
Wesley Hayes, the former warden at the Iberia Parish jail, received a 34-month sentence. His brother, Jesse Hayes, the former assistant warden, was sentenced to 24 months in prison.
Both men were accused of not intervening during the abuse of inmates and, in one instance, striking an inmate.
They cooperated extensively with federal prosecutors, who recommended leniency.
Wesley Hayes is believed to be the first Sheriff's Office employee to approach federal investigators about abuses at the Sheriff's Office.
"You, on your own volition, finally said enough is enough," Walter said.
All 10 deputies who pleaded guilty in the Sheriff's Office investigation have now been sentenced.
Seven other deputies were sentenced in March, receiving prison terms ranging from six months to more than 4 years behind bars.
Seven former deputies who agreed to cooperate with federal prosecutors in a broad federal pr…
A trial is pending for an 11th deputy who did not plead guilty, Mark Frederick.
Ackal, who was elected to a third term in 2015, denied any wrongdoing in the case, pointing the finger at a group of rogue deputies who he claimed operated beyond his control and lied to supervisors to cover-up their tracks.
The Iberia Parish Sheriff's Office faces two new lawsuits in the fallout from a federal inve…