MILWAUKEE -- Former correctional officer James Ramsey-Guy on Thursday, March 7 was sentenced to serve 30 days in the House of Correction with Huber release on one misdemeanor count of obstructing an officer -- in relation to the death of Terrill Thomas in 2016, who was an inmate at the Milwaukee County Jail.
Ramsey-Guy pleaded no contest on Jan. 18 -- a move which abruptly ended his trial on this matter. He previously faced one count of abuse of residents of penal facilities.
Opting not to leave his fate up to a jury, Ramsey-Guy told the judge he didn't dispute the state's position that he lied during an inquest into Thomas' death.
"More consideration should have been given to Thomas, and the opposite happened," said Judge Joseph Wall during Ramsey-Guy's sentencing hearing. "He obstructed the investigation -- a very serious investigation."
"It is something I carry with me every day -- something I think about constantly, and I am sorry," said Ramsey-Guy during his sentencing hearing.
Thomas was jailed after a shooting at Potawatomi Hotel & Casino. In April 2016, Thomas was found dead in his cell after not having access to water for a week. The incident was ruled a homicide.
Ramsey-Guy was a guard at the time, and turned off Thomas' water as punishment for flooding his cell -- indicating he was following orders from superiors. Prosecutors argued Ramsey-Guy failed to notify other staff -- therefore, no one knew to turn the water back on. An official with the Milwaukee County Medical Examiner's Office testified Thomas lost 10 percent of his body weight during the time he was locked in his cell with no water.
Two other now former staffers also faced charges in this case. Nancy Evans, who was the jail commander, reached a plea deal on Tuesday, Feb. 5 on criminal charges against her. Evans faced a charge of resisting or obstructing an officer — and misconduct in office. In court, the resisting/obstructing charge against Evans was dismissed and read into the court record for sentencing purposes. Evans then pleaded no contest to the felony misconduct charge. Evans was scheduled to be sentenced on March 22.
Meanwhile, Kashka Meadors, a lieutenant, was sentenced on Friday, Feb. 1 to 60 days in the House of Correction with Huber release. Meadors pleaded no contest in October 2018 to a felony charge of “abuse of residents of penal facilities.”
"It sends a message to the community that the lives of every citizen are important -- that the lives of inmates are important and that the court will not tolerate a cover up," said Kurt Benkley, prosecutor.