Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Corrections sergeant indicted for striking, choking inmate


A former sergeant at a correctional institution was arrested Tuesday for choking and striking an inmate, authorities said.

Wilton Joseph Fontenot, 47, of Bell, was accused of violating the civil rights of inmate Corey Milledge, 20, at Union Correctional Institution in Raiford, an indictment said. Fontenot also has been accused of obstruction of justice by falsifying an official "use of force" report and by persuading another correctional officer to lie about the Nov. 22, 2003 incident, Acting U.S. Attorney James R. Klindt said in a news release.

Fontenot was released on a signature bond after his initial appearance Tuesday afternoon and said he planned to hire a private attorney.

If convicted of all counts, Fontenot faces up to 40 years in prison and a $750,000 fine.

"The alleged behavior by this former corrections officer is appalling and unacceptable," said Gretl Plessinger, a Department of Corrections spokeswoman.

Records show Fontenot left the department on Nov. 25, 2003, 19 years after he was hired.

Milledge was released from prison in May 2004 after serving two years and six months for battery on detention facility staff in Jackson County.

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