Kentucky jailer convicted of assault of inmate, obstruction of justice

A former deputy jailer at a detention center in eastern Kentucky was convicted Wednesday on charges stemming from a November 2012 unprovoked assault of an inmate.

After a two-day trial, the jury found Kevin Asher, 32, guilty of deprivation of civil rights under color of law and obstruction of justice, the Justice Department said in a statement.

According to court documents, Asher and another deputy jailer, Damon Wayne Hickman, assaulted Gary Hill, a 55-year-old inmate who was being held following an arrest for a misdemeanor charge of disorderly conduct in November 2012.

Asher and Hickman approached Hill after he ran the faucet in his jail cell to the point where water had spilled out onto the floor, the Justice Department said.

Hickman testified at trial that he punched Hill in the face, causing him to fall onto the floor, the Justice Department said. He also said that while Hill was curled up in a fetal position, he and Asher began stomping and kicking Hill.

Asher and Hickman then immobilized Hill in a restraint chair and continued to beat him, the Justice Department said. Afterward, he was not given medical treatment.

Asher could face up to 10 years in prison for the assault charge and up to 20 years for obstruction of justice. His sentencing is scheduled for Aug. 2.

Correction: We originally reported that Kevin Asher “admitted” to punching Gary Hill during the trial. He did not. Deputy Jailer Damon Hickman gave testimony at trial describing the assault.