CATLETTSBURG – Four former Boyd County jail deputies charged with manslaughter in the death of an inmate were arraigned on additional criminal charges in court on Friday.
Former Boyd County Detention Center deputies Jeremy F. Mattox, 26, of Grayson, Zachary D. Messer, 29, of Ashland, Colton L. Griffith, 24, of Flatwoods, and Brad A. Roberts, 29, of Westwood were all served with a superseding indictment in Boyd County District Court adding charges of first-degree criminal abuse to each defendant. All defendants pleaded not guilty on the additional charges.
The case originates from the death of a Boyd County Detention Center inmate in November 2018. Michael L. Moore, 40, was found dead in a restraint chair at the jail, according to Kentucky State Police.
Moore was brought to the jail Nov. 28 and died the following day after being strapped most of the day in the restraint chair.
Jail video shown earlier in court shows Moore in the chair flailing his legs. It shows deputies pushing his head onto the concrete wall, struggling with him on the ground, using a Taser on him and throwing him at the chair.
Each indictment of first-degree criminal abuse, a class C felony, was charged by the individuals causing torture, cruel confinement, or cruel punishment to Moore, when he was in custody on or between November 27, 2018 and November 29, 2018 and physically or mentally helpless. Court documents indicate each charge in specific times based off of the sequence of events in video-surveillance evidence of the jail deputies and Moore.
Mattox was charged with five counts of first-degree criminal abuse. Griffith was charged with seven counts of first-degree criminal abuse. Messer was charged with 15 counts of first-degree criminal abuse. Roberts was charged with 16 counts of first-degree criminal abuse.
Boyd County Circuit Court Judge George Davis ruled that pre-trial would be scheduled on October 25 at 11 a.m.
Boyd County Commonwealth Attorney Rhonda Copley said in court that the office would be starting trial with Messer. Messer's trial was scheduled for January 27 at 9 a.m. and the pre-trial conference was scheduled for December 6 at 11 a.m. Each case will be tried seperately with a different jury panel.
Former deputy jailer Alicia Beller of Putnam, W. Va. pleaded guilty in the case to wanton endangerment in Boyd County Circuit Court in May under an agreement that doesn’t include any prison time. She will be placed in a five year diversion program that requires her to cooperate with authorities investigating the inmate’s death.
Prosecutors offered the agreement because Beller already has cooperated in the investigation and Davis accepted the agreement for that reason, he said.
Family members of the inmate also agreed to the plea bargain based on Beller’s cooperation.