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Harrison Co. ex-jailer pleads guilty in inmate abuse case

A former jailer who had been set for trial in federal court next week pleaded guilty Wednesday to conspiring to deprive inmates of their civil and constitutional rights through threats, intimidation, oppression and assaults.

Karl W. Stolze admitted he joined other corrections officers in using excessive and unnecessary force against inmates at the Harrison County Adult Detention Center. He entered the plea before U.S. District Judge Louis Guirola Jr.

Stolze had been scheduled to go to trial Monday in Hattiesburg.

Stolze’s plea bargain came two days after another ex-jailer, Daniel Evans, agreed to be a prosecution witness.

The agreements leave former Sheriff’s Capt. Rick Gaston and former Sheriff’s Sgt. Ryan Teel to stand trial Monday, according to a www.sunherald.com article.

Evans and two other jailers were charged in March, when the federal government added to charges against Teel and added the others to an indictment alleging they conspired to deprive Harrison County jail inmates of their civil rights with intentional, unjustified use of force.

Gaston and Teel are also accused on the conspiracy count and also on other counts involving alleged assaults on specific inmates. Teel’s charges include one involving the Feb. 4, 2006, beating of inmate Jessie Lee Williams Jr., who died after being removed from life support two days later.