Former corrections officer testifies against 5 Montco jail guards accused of beating 2 inmates

Jim Melwert
January 23, 2019 - 6:56 pm
From left: Edwin Negron, Darin Collins, Alfred Gregory, Anthony Saxby and Randall Sims

Montgomery County District Attorney's Office

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MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Pa. (KYW Newsradio) — Five guards from the Montgomery County jail are on trial for beating inmates. On Wednesday, another guard who was charged but pleaded guilty to lesser charges testified he was told to keep his body camera off and was coerced to file a false report.  

Former Montgomery County Correctional Facility Officer Jason Marshall previously pleaded guilty to official oppression, avoiding the more serious charges that Capt. Edwin Negron, Lt. Darin Collins, and officers Randall Sims, Alfred Gregory and Anthony Saxby are now on trial for.

Marshall says at roll call on Feb. 14, 2017, Lt. Collins said there had been a problem with inmates the day before. And, he says, the lieutenant told the officers that the inmates don’t run the prison, the guards run the prison.

RELATED: Opening statements in trial of 5 Montco jail guards accused of beating 2 inmates

He also testified Collins told him to keep his body camera off, an order he says he’d never been given before.

Marshall says they went into inmate Derrick Houlihan’s cell. Houlihan was asleep and woke up when the guards entered. Marshall says while Houlihan was sitting in bed, Officer Gregory punched him in the face.

They didn’t let Houlihan put on his prosthetic leg and forced him to hop to the infirmary to get treatment for a cut over his eye.  

As they were bringing Houlihan back to his cell, Marshall says Houlihan ended up on the ground but couldn’t say whether he dropped or whether he was pushed. 

Asked if Houlihan ever punched, kicked or tried to bite while on the ground, Marshall said no, he was just flailing around while guards – including Marshall - kicked and punched him.

Jurors saw a two-minute video of guards surrounding Houlihan, punching and kicking him. 

When the detective showing the video was asked by a defense attorney if it looks like the guards were simply trying to get Houlihan’s bloody shirt off of him, the detective said, “No, it looks like Saxby is trying to choke him.”

Jurors also heard from a nurse who treated the inmate and says Lt. Collins told the inmate twice he was going to take his cuffs off and beat him.

However, another corrections officer, who was in the infirmary but is not facing charges, testified the inmate was telling the guards the injury didn’t phase him, saying he lives for that kind of thing, with Lt. Collins replying, we can take the cuffs off and find out.

Marshall testified the guards tossed Houlihan’s prosthetic leg out of his cell and he didn’t get it back until another shift of guards came on duty later that day.