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Former MDOC Employees Face 10 Years for Alleged Inmate Beating; Cross-Burner Pleads Guilty

Former Mississippi Department of Corrections employees Jessica Hill, 34, and Nicole Moore, 43, allegedly beat an unresisting inmate at the Central Mississippi Correctional Facility in Pearl, Miss., and inflicted bodily injuries on the individual, identified simply as L.C. in the indictment. The U.S. Department of Justice announced the federal indictment against the defendants on Dec. 1, 2022, for the incident alleged to have occurred in July 2019.

In an email on Friday, Dec. 2, Hill’s defense attorney Omodare B. Jupiter told the Mississippi Free Press, “We do not have any comment.” Attorney Robert Thomas Rich, who is defending Moore, similarly told the Mississippi Free Press on Dec. 5, 2022,  “As of right now I can’t offer any comment on the case.”

The defendants entered the plea of not guilty at their initial appearance and arraignment following the indictment on Nov. 16, 2022, on one count of deprivation of rights under the color of law before Federal Magistrate Judge F. Keith Ball on Dec. 1, 2022. The judge scheduled the pretrial conference for Dec. 13, 2022, and the jury trial for Jan. 23, 2023, based on the audio recording of the proceeding logged in the court docket.

Hill was a correctional officer, while Moore was a case manager at the facility at the time of the alleged incident, The indictment stated that the two women “willfully deprived inmate L.C. of the right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment, which is guaranteed and protected by the Constitution and the laws of the United States.”

Hill allegedly used a pepper-spray canister and her fist against L.C., and Moore kicked with her foot. “The offense resulted in bodily injury to L.C. and involved the use of a dangerous weapon,” the indictment said.

Two Mississippi Department of Corrections workers in 2019 allegedly beat an inmate at Central Mississippi Correctional Facility in Pearl. They are now facing charges in federal court. Photo courtesy MDOC

The Mississippi Department of Corrections Assistant Deputy Commissioner Leo B. Honeycutt III told the Mississippi Free Press via email on Dec. 2, 2022, that the agency’s current leadership does not

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