Ex-sheriff used lug wrench on inmate's broken jaw

jkovac@macon.comOctober 23, 2012 

A former midstate sheriff, who pleaded guilty to beating an inmate at the Wilcox County jail, tried to pop the prisoner’s broken jaw back in place with a lug wrench after the assault.

Ex-Sheriff Stacy Bloodsworth also admitted that he conspired to cover up the attack on then-19-year-old Kyle Michael Hyatt and two other inmates.

About a week after the July 2009 episode, Hyatt’s busted jaw was treated and wired shut at a hospital.

Hyatt was one of three inmates at the jail suspected of having a mobile phone in his cell, against the rules at the Abbeville lockup.

Bloodsworth, according to his guilty plea Monday, was “angry” that the prisoners might have a phone.

He and others on his staff, along with a jailhouse trusty, hit the three inmates. Hyatt was kicked in the face “multiple times” by Bloodsworth’s son, Austin.

“After it appeared that (Hyatt’s) jaw was broken, Bloodsworth used a wrench in an attempt to put (Hyatt’s) broken jaw back into place,” the plea agreement notes.

Stacy Bloodsworth, 43, who was ordered to resign as sheriff after his arrest in February, faces 15 years in prison when he is sentenced in January.

Austin Bloodsworth also pleaded guilty to conspiring to cover up the assault, concocting a story about how another inmate, a trusty named Willie James Caruthers who’d been in on the attack, had hurt Hyatt in a fight.

The fictitious fight, according to the conspirators’ cover story, was to have started when Hyatt “used a racial slur against Caruthers,” documents say.

Austin Bloodsworth faces a maximum of five years on the conspiracy charge.

Three other defendants have previously pleaded guilty to civil rights and obstruction of justice crimes in connection with the assault.

Court documents do not mention why Hyatt, now 23, was in jail. He has since been arrested in Jacksonville, Fla., on marijuana possession charges.

Hyatt has a Cordele address and is listed as a material witness in the case against the Bloodsworths. He was being held at the Bleckley County jail earlier this month.

At his plea hearing Monday, Stacy Bloodsworth admitted his involvement in the jailhouse assault and its subsequent cover-up, which included lying to FBI agents.

His father, C.E. “Ed” Bloodsworth Jr., was a six-term sheriff in Wilcox County. When he died of cancer at age 48 in 1995, Stacy Bloodsworth, then 26 and his father’s chief deputy, became sheriff.

“I reckon it’s bred into me,” Stacy Bloodsworth, who became a deputy at age 19, said at the time. “There’s nothing else I would want to do. I hate I’m sheriff under these circumstances, but I know it’s what my daddy would want. ... He was a natural. He was good at it, too.”

Information from Telegraph archives was used in this story. To contact writer Joe Kovac Jr., call 744-4397.

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