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Former jailer asks to join Guard unit
Jun 09, 2004 12:00 am
A former Wilson County Jail guard who pleaded guilty to assault charges
stemming from an ongoing prisoner abuse investigation is asking to be
allowed to report for duty with the Tennessee National Guard - possibly
Former guard William Westmoreland, who pleaded guilty last November to
federal assault charges, makes the request in a motion filed May 27 in
District Court in Nashville.
But the U.S. government is opposing the request, filing a response that
notes Westmoreland 3may not be able to travel back to Nashville for
sentencing2 if the motion is granted.
The government1s response, filed by Assistant U.S. Attorney Bill Cohen,
cites federal law prohibiting convicted felons from carrying firearms
reason for denying the request.
In the motion filed on Westmoreland1s behalf by attorney Gary Vandever,
former jail guard is said to have received orders that his unit will be
3mobilized on or about June 14, 2004 and are to report to Camp Shelby,
Mississippi on or about June 17S and he anticipates they will be gone a
minimum of 220 days.2
The former corrections officer 3has been in the National Guard for
some time and desires to be mobilized with his unit, and it is further
anticipated that the unit may be sent to Iraq,2 Vandever1s motion
Westmoreland is one of three former jailers who have pleaded guilty to
federal charges resulting from a U.S. Department of Justice
the jail that began with the January 2003 head injury death of inmate
S. Kuntz, 43, who was behind bars when he lapsed into a coma from which
never recovered. A subsequent autopsy ruled his death a homicide and
described his injuries as 3consistent2 with a beating.
Westmoreland was charged last November in a federal information
assaulted inmate Kenneth McIntyre in July 2001. Slated for sentencing
Sept. 27, he faces a maximum sentence of up to 10 years in prison and a
Westmoreland also seeks specific permission in the motion to be allowed
carry a weapon, though Cohen maintains in his response that the court
not have the authority to permit him to possess or carry a firearm.2
3It is extremely unlikely, that if mobilized, the United States Army
not require defendant to carry a firearm, particularly if he is sent to
country where active hostilities are ongoing,2 Cohen1s reponse states.
Included along with the motion are letters from five members of
Westmoreland1s unit - including two officers - 3attesting to his
experience and worth as a soldier.2
One of the letters mentions Westmoreland1s skill and training as the
of a Bradley armored fighting vehicle, though Cohen indicates in his
response that type of duty would violate the federal ban on convicted
But overall the letters filed along with the defendant1s motion sing
Westmoreland1s praises as a soldier, with one officer calling him 3the
of man I want by my side with me in the event our unit is called into
The letter from First Lt. Brian McSpadden also says he has spoken
times2 with Westmoreland about his crime 3and each time he has never
what he did was right. In the event we are mobilized he will not allow
emotions to get the better of him.2
3I do not condone the actions for which SPC Westmoreland has
pleaded guilty,2 McSpadden1s letter says. 3However, I contest that by
willingness to answer for his actions speaks volumes of his character.
SPC Westmoreland did was wrong, but it takes a man of strong moral
to face up to what he did and try to right his wrong.2
A separate letter from Staff Sgt. Jeffrey Holt calls Westmoreland 3an
outstanding soldier who will one day make a great leader for others to
follow.2 Holt says the former jailer once 3ignored the agonizing pain2
knee injury - refusing offers of less strenuous duty - in order to
with his unit during a training exercise.
Second Lt. Steven Brock - Westmoreland1s platoon leader in the National
Guard1s 278th cavalry unit stationed in Gallatin - begins his letter by
asking the judge 3to consider leniency in your decision in this case,
need a leader of his caliber to deploy to Iraq with his troops and me.2
3A man1s character is the foundation of his behavior. It dictates how
interacts with others and manages his actions in lifeS People with good
character are few and far betweenS SPC Westmoreland is a man of
Combat is an unforgiving arena and although there are not many people I
trust with my back, Westmoreland is one of those I trust implicitly,2
Brock1s letter concludes.
The letters are a vivid contrast to FBI statements entered into the
record when Westmoreland pleaded guilty, which alleged he was one of
officers who 3hit and kicked2 McIntyre when he was jailed on DUI
McIntyre was able to identify both Westmoreland and former Sgt. Patrick
Marlowe - widely regarded as a central target of the investigation - as
of the three jailers who 3beat2 him, according to the FBI statement.
During an interview with federal prosecutors and FBI Agent Scott
Westmoreland 3stated he and McIntyre had words at the jail, after which
Patrick Marlowe and McIntyre had a verbal altercation. Westmoreland
after the verbal altercation, McIntyre spit on Marlowe. Westmoreland
Marlowe responded by beating McIntyre in the ribs and body area with a
closed fist. Westmoreland said at the same time, he hit McIntyre in the
with his fists. Westmoreland also confirmed a third officer was
the physical altercation with McIntyre,2 the agent1s statement said.
Westmoreland was also the subject of an inmate complaint filed nearly a
after McIntyre was beaten, an extensive review of more than 1,400 jail
incident reports by The Lebanon Democrat revealed.
In May 2002 a male inmate complained to jail officials that
3had been going to the workplace2 of his girlfriend, herself a former
prisoner in the jail, 3offering rides and generally being around her.2
The report said Westmoreland had 3made comments about2 the woman to
correctional officers while she was in custody, and also told superiors
went to pick up on-duty meals at the restaurant where she was working.
report was filed by corrections officer Jason Gray and ends by saying
being passed on to a supervisor 3for further investigation.2 It remains
unclear if Westmoreland was disciplined as a result of the allegation,
though he was still on the job until shortly before being charged last
In addition to Westmoreland, two other former guards - Travis Bradley
John McKinney - have also pleaded guilty to charges contained in
informations. Both of those two officers have pleaded guilty to charges
falsifying jail incident reports and both are scheduled to be sentenced
later this year.
Marlowe resigned shortly after the investigation began, reportedly
his superiors he was 3tired of the hassles2 created by the probe. A
central figure in the investigation, Cpl. Gary Hale, has remained on
suspension with pay since shortly after the probe began though his
Frank Lannom of Lebanon, has expressed confidence his client will
At least two other jailers are also believed to be under scrutiny as a
result of the investigation, which has required federal grand jury
from a number of local officials, including Sheriff Terry Ashe, former
supervisor David Hemontoler and even two local bail bondsmen.
Also testifying were the two Lebanon police officers who arrested Kuntz
charges ranging from drunken driving to resisting arrest. Attorneys for
of the officers said their clients are not under suspicion and are
considered witnesses in the case.
Senior Staff Writer Brooks Franklin can be reached at 444-3952 ext. 14
e-mail at email@example.com.