JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley is asking that bond be revoked for a southeast Missouri sheriff who is charged with 18 criminal counts and was temporarily removed from office after an inmate died at the jail.
Hawley said in a news release Tuesday that he wants former Mississippi County Sheriff Cory Hutcheson either jailed or barred from interfering in Hawley’s investigation into the May 5 death of inmate Tory Sanders, 28, of Nashville, Tennessee.
Sanders’ death after an altercation with jail personnel came about a month after Hutcheson was charged with 18 counts, including an allegation that he handcuffed a 77-year-old woman with so much force that she suffered a heart attack. When he was charged, a Mississippi County Circuit Court judge refused to deny him bail.
Despite being suspended after the charges were filed, Hutcheson was at the jail and directed the altercation that led to Sanders’ death, Hawley said.
“The facts more than establish that Cory Hutcheson has violated the terms of his bail and is a danger to the community,” Hawley said Tuesday.
Hawley has said the altercation with Sanders began when he apparently resisted efforts by jailers to move him to a different holding cell. The attorney general said police used pepper spray and stun guns on Sanders. At some point, Hutcheson directed police and jail staff to force their way into Sanders’ cell. He was then taken to a hospital and pronounced dead, according to Hawley.
After the FBI and Missouri State Highway Patrol arrested Hutcheson in April, his sheriff’s license was suspended but the terms of the suspension allowed him access to law enforcement facilities, including the jail.
Hutcheson’s attorney, Scott Rosenblum, told The Associated Press after Sanders’ death that an investigation would find “no criminal conduct on the part of Cory or any of his deputies.” Rosenblum’s office said he was not available for comment Tuesday.
Hawley said Sanders is the third death at the jail in Mississippi County, a rural county of about 14,000 residents about 150 miles (240 kilometers) south of St. Louis, since Hutcheson began overseeing the facility.
A 21-year-old inmate, Somer Nunnally, died in May 2015 of an overdose. Her family alleges in a lawsuit that surveillance video shows a jailer laughing at Nunnally several times and ignoring her cries for medical help before she died. Another inmate, Tara Rhodes, has alleged in a lawsuit that she was abused and her pleas from medical help were ignored for five days while she was being held at the jail in December 2014, causing her to miscarry.
Hutcheson also is being sued by the 77-year-old woman who suffered a heart attack after being handcuffed and five members of the Missouri State Highway Patrol, who allege they were illegally monitored by Hutcheson.