Charges dismissed against corrections officer
CLEARFIELD — All charges were dismissed against one of three corrections officers accused of assaulting an inmate at the Clearfield County jail during centralized court Wednesday.
Brian Eugene Showalter, 31, William B. McGroarty, 59, and Jason Hubert Troxell, 39, all of Clearfield, were charged with misdemeanor counts of obstructing the administration of law, official oppression, simple assault, recklessly endangering another person, criminal attempt-simple assault and a summary harassment in connection with an incident on June 7 at the jail.
During a preliminary hearing Wednesday, the victim testified that, after he took a shower, Troxell told him to “lock up.” He refused, and Troxell called for backup.
Several other COs arrived, including Showalter and McGroarty.
After the inmate agreed to be handcuffed behind his back, he was led off the cellblock.
The victim said his hands were put over his head, which caused him to bend at the waist.
Showalter was on his left and McGroarty was on his right as he was taken through several doorways.
Showalter started hitting his head off the door frames, the victim testified, stating he hit his head six times.
He suffered a cut on top of his head that bled and bruising with cuts on the side of his face, he said.
When asked by Bobbi Jo Wagner of the Attorney General’s Office — who is prosecuting the case — if he suffers any lasting effects from the injury, he said he has headaches.
Showalter’s attorney, Randall T. Ricciuti, questioned if the victim had told one of the other guards that he had slipped in the shower or been punched in the face. The victim denied this.
Ricciuti also questioned whether Warden Greg Collins had offered him anything for his testimony, which the victim also denied.
McGroarty’s attorney, Joseph Paletta, asked him where the photos of his injuries were taken.
The victim said they were taken in the warden’s office.
Paletta then asked if he was ever alone with the warden. The victim said he believed there was a deputy warden with him every time he discussed the incident with the warden.
The only other witness was Penny Harper, a retired CO who was one of the officers who responded to the call for backup that day.
When she got there, the victim was already being handcuffed, she said. She confirmed the victim’s testimony that Showalter was on his left and McGroarty was on his right.
She did not follow them right away but did hear someone saying, “Watch for blood.”
The next time she saw the victim, he was sitting with Showalter and McGroarty, tending to a cut on his head.
They asked her to get some ice for the injury.
She testified that she did not notice any other injuries to the victim’s face. Harper also stated that she did not see the victim misbehaving.
After hearing the testimony, District Judge Mike Morris dismissed all the charges against Troxell.
He also dismissed the obstructing administration of law, official oppression and harassment charges against the other two. Morris explained that there was no testimony alleging that the assault was intentional, which is required for the first two charges.