Grand jury to hear jailers’ case

Published 1:16 pm Friday, September 5, 2014

Three Lawrence County Jail corrections officers accused of assaulting an inmate will have their cases heard by a grand jury later this month.

Ronald S. Hatfield, 25, Jeremy S. Hanshaw, 36, and Jason Mays, 22, appeared in Ironton Municipal Court Thursday for a preliminary hearing but waived the process, which would have included testimony from investigators.

The next Lawrence County grand jury meets Sept. 22-23 and will determine which cases have enough evidence to issue indictments.

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Hatfield and Hanshaw are charged with felonious assault, a second-degree felony. Mays is charged with tampering with evidence, a felony of the third-degree.

The charges stem from an investigation prompted by allegations the three corrections officers were involved in possible mistreatment of an inmate.

Mays has been fired, while Hatfield and Hanshaw were placed on paid administrative leave as required by their union bargaining unit agreement.

Both Hatfield and Hanshaw were hired as corrections officers in June 2013. Mays had only been employed at the jail since June of this year.

An investigation into the alleged mistreatment of an inmate began on Aug. 19 when a jail employee came forward with information of the incident.

Sheriff Jeff Lawless said in a press release he ordered an investigation into the allegations, and on Aug. 20, detectives concluded the three officers had been involved in “the inappropriate treatment” of an inmate who had been booked in the facility on a charge of disorderly conduct.

In an unrelated case, to Coal Grove men accused of stealing firearms from a police cruiser last week also waive their preliminary hearing to a grand jury.

David Harris, 21, of 506 Marion Pike, Lot 4, in Coal Grove, and Joseph Waddle, 23, of 506 Marion Pike, Lot 6, appeared in municipal court Thursday.

Harris and Waddle are both charged with aggravated robbery, two felony counts of theft and one misdemeanor count of theft. Waddle also has an additional count of felony having weapons under a disability.

The men were arrested Friday after more than a dozen Coal Grove residents’ vehicles were broken into, one of which was a police cruiser.

Harris and Waddle are accused of taking two pistols from the cruiser’s secured lock box.

According to Coal Grove Police Chief Eric Spurlock, the men each took a gun and allegedly held one to a man’s head and one to his chest, allegedly taking $19 in cash.

The firearms were later found in one of the suspect’s homes under a piece of furniture.