Former deputy warden pleads guilty to assaulting inmate at Parchman Prison

Inmate’s civil rights violated
Published: May. 27, 2022 at 4:16 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Melvin Hilson, 49, a former deputy warden at the Mississippi State Penitentiary, also known as Parchman, pleaded guilty Thursday to violating an inmate’s civil rights in 2016. Hilson was charged with violating the inmate’s civil rights by repeatedly striking him and knocking him to the ground, which resulted in the inmate suffering a ruptured eardrum, abrasions to his ear and neck and prolonged headaches.

According to court documents and statements made during the hearing, Hilson was working as a member of Parchman’s K-9 Unit at the time of the assault. On or around August 3, 2016, the inmate, J.T., was in a caged area inside of the medical unit, where he waited to be seen by a medical provider. Hilson approached J.T. and struck him with a closed fist several times, knowing that there was no reason to use force and that J.T. did not pose any threat to himself or others. During the assault, Hilson knocked J.T. to the ground, picked him up, and then struck him and knocked him to the ground again. According to prosecutors, J.T. did not attempt to fight back or defend himself from Hilson’s assault.

A federal grand jury indicted Hilson in June 2021 on three separate counts, including writing a false report to conceal the assault and lying to Mississippi Department of Corrections investigators about the assault. The obstruction charges will be dismissed at the conclusion of sentencing. The civil rights violation carries a maximum sentence of 10 years imprisonment and a $250,000 fine. Hilson is scheduled to be sentenced on September 1, 2022.

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