WASHINGTON – A federal grand jury in Orlando, Fla., has indicted a former Federal Bureau of Prisons corrections officer on charges related to a fatal assault on an inmate in March 2005. Michael Kennedy was charged with one count of conspiring with others to violate the federal civil rights of inmate Richard Delano and one count of violating Delano’s civil rights by arranging for another inmate to assault Delano. The indictment was unsealed today in conjunction with Kennedy’s initial appearance in court.
Each count carries a sentence of up to life imprisonment and a $250,000 fine. A trial has not yet been scheduled.
The grand jury charged that on Feb. 28, 2005, Kennedy and a co-conspirator, fellow Bureau of Prisons corrections officer Erin Sharma, agreed to move Delano into the cell of another inmate at the Coleman Federal Correctional Complex in Coleman, Fla. The indictment alleges that Kennedy and Sharma knew that the inmate was likely to assault Delano, that the move was in retaliation for a prior altercation between Delano and Sharma, and that Sharma encouraged the inmate to assault Delano. According to the indictment, Kennedy moved Delano into the inmate’s cell on March 1, 2005, and the inmate assaulted Delano three days later. Delano later died from the injuries he suffered during that assault.
On July 29, 2009, a federal jury in Orlando found Sharma guilty of federal civil rights charges related to this incident, and on Oct. 26, 2009, she was sentenced to life in prison in connection with her conviction on those charges.
The case will be prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Bruce Ambrose from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, and Trial Attorney Douglas Kern from the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice.
An indictment is merely an accusation, and defendants are presumed innocent unless proven guilty.