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Ex-Rikers jail guard gets 30 years in fatal beating of inmate

 

Ex-officer Brian Coll was sentenced to 30 years behind bars after beating and then killing an inmate.

Ex-officer Brian Coll was sentenced to 30 years behind bars after beating and then killing an inmate.

(REUTERS)
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

Wednesday, September 13, 2017, 5:31 PM

A former Rikers correction officer was slammed with a 30 year prison sentence Wednesday for beating an infirm inmate to death — and then trying to cover up the assault.

"This is a serious offense that requires a serious punishment,” Manhattan Federal Judge Loretta Preska said in handing the lengthy prison term to ex-officer Brian Coll.

“It is also a crime where deterrence is, in the court's view, an important consideration."

Coll, 48, kicked inmate Ronald Spear's head over and over again during a 2012 confrontation at the jail's infirmary.

The savage attack ultimately caused the 52-year-old's heart to stop, prosecutors said at trial.

Coll then plotted with other COs to cast Spear as the aggressor — including making bogus accusations that the sick inmate charged at Coll with a cane, prosecutors charged.

Asked for comment on the sentence, Coll's lawyer, Sam Schmidt, said "We're very disappointed, and we're going to appeal."

Acting Manhattan U.S. Attorney Joon Kim said Preska's sentence affirms that inmates are protected by law.

Byron Taylor (c.) leaves Manhattan Federal Court on Sept. 20, 2016 in New York.

Byron Taylor (c.) leaves Manhattan Federal Court on Sept. 20, 2016 in New York.

(Alec Tabak/for New York Daily News)

"What Officer Brian Coll did on Dec. 19, 2012 — viciously beating to death a defenseless man — was a murderous crime, whether inside or outside prison. And he has now been held accountable for it," Kim said in a statement.

"The protections of the U.S. Constitution extend to all of us, including those within our prison walls. Today's sentencing of Brian Coll reminds us all of that."

The eight-day trial revealed harrowing details about Spear's final, suffering-filled moments.

Spear felt each of Coll's "field goal"-like kicks as he lay groaning on the floor, Assistant U.S. Attorney Brooke Cucinella said in her closing arguments.

"The last hateful words that Ronald Spear would ever hear — 'This is what you get for f---ing with me, remember I did this'" Cucinella said.

Coll was so "proud of what he did" that he kept a framed news article about Spear's death in his bedroom.

"Let's call it what it is: a trophy," Cucinella told the jury.

Coll was found guilty of several charges, including death resulting from deprivation of rights, conspiracy and obstruction.

Anthony Torres and Byron Taylor, pleaded guilty to covering up information surrounding 52-year-old Ronald Spear's (pictured) death.

Anthony Torres and Byron Taylor, pleaded guilty to covering up information surrounding 52-year-old Ronald Spear's (pictured) death.

Spear had been in Rikers awaiting trial on a burglary charge. Police had arrested him in September 2012, after he tried getting medicine at a Duane Reade in Harlem.

Spear had forgotten he was barred from the store because of an earlier shoplifting charge, spurring his arrest, a source previously told the Daily News.

Spear's family received a $2.75 million settlement from the city in July 2014.

Two correction officers accused of holding Spear down during the beating, Anthony Torres and Byron Taylor, pleaded guilty to covering up information surrounding Spear's death.

Tags:
rikers island
new york assaults
new york corruption
new york murders
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