Ex-Missouri jailer sentenced for inmate assaults

Wednesday, July 13, 2011 | 3:25 p.m. CDT; updated 5:27 p.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 19, 2011

ST. LOUIS — A longtime Missouri jailer was sentenced to 10 years in federal prison Wednesday for assaulting two inmates and directing violent attacks on two others.

Veron Wilson, 57, received the maximum penalty following his March conviction for violating the civil rights of the four inmates and lying to the FBI. His attorney, Matthew Radefeld, said he will appeal both the conviction and the lengthy sentence.

"We are disappointed with the sentencing," Radefeld said. "After 30 years of law enforcement experience, we were hopeful that the sentence would have been more favorable."

Wilson was the chief jailer for Washington County, a rural county about 60 miles southwest of St. Louis. During his trial earlier this year, witnesses said that on two occasions in 2005, Wilson repeatedly struck inmates so hard in the face that their heads rocked back against the wall at the jail in Potosi.

On two other occasions that same year, Wilson placed non-violent inmates in a cell with violent inmates, including a murder suspect. Federal prosecutors said Wilson paid the violent inmates with cigarettes to attack the two inmates he considered troublemakers.

One of the non-violent inmates, Gary Gieselman, had been arrested on a bad check charge and was taken to the jail for what was expected to be a brief stay. He told The Associated Press in March that he and Wilson's daughter, who was also a jailer, exchanged words that her father overheard.

Gieselman was placed in a section of the jail referred to as the "rough tank," where he was attacked, suffering several broken bones in his face and broken teeth. He was taken to a hospital unconscious. He said the facial damage is permanent.

Messages left Wednesday with Gieselman were not returned. The FBI and the U.S. Attorney's office also did not return messages seeking comment.

Gieselman filed a civil lawsuit in September naming Wilson, Wilson's daughter, Valeria Wilson Jackson, Washington County and the inmates who attacked him.

Jackson pleaded guilty in July 2010 to one count of obstruction of justice for lying to the FBI about her role in the Gieselman beating and was sentenced to five years of probation.

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James Krewson July 13, 2011 | 6:32 p.m.

This reminds me of Shawshank Redemption.

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