OHIO PRISON WATCH

Ex-prison guard pleads guilty to planning inmate's beating

Tuesday, October 24, 2000 Robert Ruth, Columbus Dispatch Staff Reporter

A former guard at an eastern Ohio prison faces up to 10 years in prison after pleading guilty yesterday to orchestrating the beating of an inmate two years ago. Brian Lamp, 25, of Marietta pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy minutes before his jury trial was scheduled to begin in U.S. District Court in Columbus. He will be sentenced later by Judge John D. Holschuh.

Lamp is the second guard at Noble Correctional Institution in Caldwell to plead guilty in connection with the beating of Ricky Toddon May 10, 1998, at the prison. Todd, then 21, was serving an 18-month sentence for receiving stolen property. The other guard -- Christopher Viney, 26, of New Matamoras in Washington County -- pleaded guilty March 27 in federal court in Columbus to failing to report a felony. Viney admitted that he watched the beating but did not attempt to stop it or report it to supervisors. He has not yet been sentenced but faces up to three years in prison.

Lamp, a guard at the prison from August 1996 until he was fired in December 1998, masterminded a plot to have Todd beaten by inmate Rocky Newman, who was serving a one-year sentence for escaping from law-enforcement officers. Lamp ordered Todd and Newman to be placed by themselves in a recreational cell. After the assault, Lamp had other inmates clean up the blood.

Newman, who was not charged in the incident, was released in December 1999. Todd was released in March 1999 but was arrested this month for a parole violation. The State Highway Patrol, which investigates crimes committed on state property, began investigating the incident in July 1998. After patrol investigators learned that the assault might have involved guards, the case was turned over to the FBI for possible prosecution as a civil-rights violation. Lamp, Viney and Newman are white; Todd is black.

Copyright 2000, The Columbus Dispatch

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