JOLIET, Ill. (STMW) – A man jailed on murder charges has filed a lawsuit claiming he was viciously beaten by a mob of jail guards — including one correctional officer now incarcerated himself for allegedly paying an inmate to find someone to kill a romantic rival.
Pedro Sanchez named 16 guards from the Will County jail, Warden Michael O’Leary and Sheriff Paul Kaupas in his lawsuit.
Among the 16 guards is Keith Smith, a correctional officer charged with paying a jail inmate $300 to procure a couple killers to snuff his ex-girlfriend’s new boyfriend.
Smith was arrested in April. According to Sanchez’s suit, Smith was a member of the jail’s Emergency Response Team on Feb. 4, the day Sanchez was savagely attacked in his cell.
The beating began during an inspection of Sanchez’s cell, the suit says. Two guards allegedly pushed Sanchez to the floor and started to punch and kick him.
When they were finished with that, the suit says, they ordered Sanchez to lay on the floor with his hands behind his back.
That’s when Smith and 13 other members of the Emergency Response Team showed up, according to the lawsuit. One of them allegedly shackled a facedown Sanchez and the beating resumed.
When this concluded, the suit says, the guards hoisted Sanchez to his feet and took him to a dayroom for medical treatment. Along the way, the suit says, they banged Sanchez’s head against the stairs.
“It looks like he went through a meat grinder,” Sanchez’s attorney, John Schrock, said of his client’s condition following his alleged ordeal at the hands of the guards.
Some time in the following days, Schrock said, Sanchez was taken to Silver Cross Hospital in Joliet where he was treated for his injuries, which included facial bruises, blurred vision, earaches and headaches.
“You can’t do that to an inmate, no matter what happened,” Schrock said. “There’s no excuse for it.”
Sanchez’s civil suit is set for a Dec. 23 hearing. Seventeen days before that, his murder case is scheduled to go before a jury.
Sanchez was jailed in May 2009 in connection with the slaying of Robert Gooch in the Lois Place apartments.
Gooch was gunned down after he and Sanchez allegedly squabbled over a woman.
Smith, who worked at the county jail for about three years, is up for a pretrial hearing in his solicitation for murder case on Tuesday.
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