Angola Death Row (copy)

Advocate Staff Photo by Mark Saltz -- The front gate at the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola, the state's maximum-security prison, shot in 2009.

Mark Saltz

Three ex-Louisiana State Penitentiary guards indicted last fall in the alleged beating of a handcuffed and shackled Angola inmate and an alleged cover-up of the January 2014 assault, have given up their right to a speedy trial in Baton Rouge federal court.

Former Maj. Daniel Davis and former Capts. John Sanders and James Savoy were scheduled to stand trial March 13, but their attorneys earlier this month cited the complex nature of the case and the 7,000-plus pages of documents they expected to receive from federal prosecutors in asking U.S. District Judge John deGravelles to postpone the trial.

The judge did so late last week, writing that "the ends of justice served by taking such action outweigh the best interest of the public and the (defendants) in a speedy trial." He scheduled an April 13 status conference but did not set a new trial date.

"We have just received the Government's discovery in the case," Ian Hipwell, one of Davis' attorneys, said Tuesday. "Mr. Davis looks forward to his day in court."

Davis, Sanders and Savoy were indicted by a federal grand jury Nov. 2 and pleaded not guilty Jan. 6 before U.S. Magistrate Judge Erin Wilder-Doomes, who set the March 13 trial date under the terms of the Speedy Trial Act, which requires a trial to begin within 70 days of arraignment.

The indictment of Davis, Sanders and Savoy came six days after federal prosecutors accused another former Angola correctional officer, Scotty Kennedy, of standing by while those guards allegedly severely beat the handcuffed and shackled inmate being held in solitary confinement.

Kennedy, who resigned in February 2014, pleaded guilty Nov. 1 to deprivation of rights under color of law, and conspiracy to obstruct justice. Kennedy, 48, of Beebe, Arkansas, has not been sentenced.

Prosecutors alleged he plotted with Davis, Sanders and Savoy to cover up the "unjustified assault" by creating a bogus story, falsifying prison records to corroborate the story, and tampering with witnesses and physical evidence.

Kennedy had a clean record at the maximum-security prison prior to the beating, but two of the other guards allegedly involved in it had several excessive-force complaints against them, according to the federal bill of information charging Kennedy.

Davis, 40, of Loranger, and Sanders, 31, and Savoy, 38, both of Marksville, allegedly beat the inmate and plotted to cover up their misconduct by, among other things, falsely stating they used reasonable force to get the inmate under control after he got out of his cell and fought with guards.

Each man is charged with deprivation of rights under color of law, conspiracy to obstruct justice, and falsifying reports in a federal investigation. Davis also is accused of tampering with a witness and perjury.



Follow Joe Gyan Jr. on Twitter, @JoeGyanJr.