Former Harrison Co. booking officer says supervisors ordered him to falsify report

Published 6:53 pm Friday, July 13, 2007

A former Harrison County jail booking officer admitted Thursday while making a plea deal in federal court that he covered up the use of excessive force on an inmate under orders from two supervisors.

Brandon Moore, 25, admitted he falsified a report to impede or obstruct an investigation.

He said Harrison County Sheriff’s Capt. Rick Gaston and an unidentified co-conspirator insisted he withdraw a report he wrote and provide another that matched one filed by a different officer.

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By doing so, he helped cover up the use of excessive and unnecessary force against an inmate, identified as O.A., on Oct. 4, 2005.

Gaston, who was in charge of the booking room but has since been fired, is one of four former jail employees awaiting trial Aug. 6 on charges that include conspiring to deprive civil rights under the color of law.

Moore is the sixth former jailer to agree to a plea deal following the alleged beating death of inmate Jessie Lee Williams Jr. in February 2006.

Those agreeing to plea deals could be called to testify in the trial of Gaston, Ryan Teel, Daniel Evans and Karl W. Stolze.

Moore said the beating of O.A. occurred in the shower area of the booking room where there are no security cameras.

Moore’s plea agreement was sealed by Judge Louis Guirola Jr. Moore’s bond was set at $25,000 and he faces 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.