COLUMBIA, SC — Circuit Judge DeAndrea Benjamin on Thursday denied prosecution motions to revoke or make higher a nominal bond for a former Richland County Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center guard accused of beating an inmate.
Prosecutor Joanna McDuffie had argued in a hearing at the Richland Coumty courthouse that ex-guard Robin Smith posed a danger to the community and posed a flight risk.
But Smith's lawyers, I. S. Leevy Johnson and Yvonne Murray-Boyles, told the judge Smith was the perfect candidate for current light bond and no change was warranted.
Smith has lived 20 years in the Columbia area, is married with three children, and has shown up for four previous court appearances and interviews with law enforcement, his lawyers told the judge.
Smith's lawyers also said his mother, father, wife, minister and longtime friend were in the courtroom.
Smith was present and stood beside his lawyers as they argued. But he did not speak.
Smith, 37, was charged with assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature in connection with the stomping of a 52-year-old homeless man who had been arrested on a trespassing charge while trying to sleep in the doorway of a University of South Carolina class building.
On Feb. 11, several days after being booked into the detention center on that minor, non-violent charge, jail guards entered his cell and he refused to comply with their instructions, Sheriff Leon Lott said last week.
Then one guard began kicking the victim repeatedly in the head and side and put his boot onto the victim’s head and neck while pulling the victim’s arm the opposite direction, Lott said.
Alvin S. Glenn officials have cooperated with sheriff’s department investigators. Palmetto Richland Hospital officials have told the department the victim is in critical but stable condition. He is suffering from a collapsed lung, two broken ribs, a fractured vertebrae and various internal injuries.
“The person could possibly die as a result of their injuries,” said Sheriff’s Department Capt. Chris Cowan this week.
Although the jail assault happened on Feb. 11, the injured inmate was not taken to the hospital until Feb. 15. And it wasn’t until Feb. 21 that the sheriff’s department learned of the incident when a hospital worker contacted law enforcement, Cowan said this week.
Four other guards have been placed on administrative leave without pay in connection with the incident. The county is seeking to terminate them on charges on failing to report a use of force incident.
Reach Monk at (803) 771-8344.