Deputy found guilty in SC inmate beating case - - Columbia, South Carolina

Deputy found guilty in SC inmate beating case

Defense Attorney Johnny Gasser (Front)  Oddie Tribble (Middle) Defense Attorney Johnny Gasser (Front) Oddie Tribble (Middle)
Oddie Tribble Oddie Tribble
Charles Shelley Charles Shelley

By Jody Barr - bio | email

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Federal jurors have found a former Kershaw County sheriff's deputy guilty of violating the civil rights of a handcuffed detainee.

The jury of eight women and four men deliberated for the better part of two days before deciding to convict 51-year-old Oddie Tribble. He was found guilty of using excessive force on a handcuffed Charles Shelley and will never work in law enforcement again. "What occurred in that 97 second span on August 5th of last year was an absolute anomaly in the life of Oddie Tribble," said Defense Attorney Johnny Gasser.

Gasser said the beating doesn't define the former deputy. He said the amount of time it took to reach a verdict proves the jury did their job. "Clearly this jury gave very, very serious consideration to the issues that were before them, and they deliberated long and hard," said Gasser, "Despite the fact that we're disappointed in the verdict, we respect the fact that they didn't just go in there with an open and shut attitude."

"It's tough to convict a law enforcement officer for violating the law, so they had some work to do," said US Attorney Beth Drake. Drake said Tribble's defense team tried to de-sensitize the jury by playing the beating video nearly a dozen times through the trial.

Drake said the jury's verdict proves it didn't work and that what Tribble did isn't an indictment on law enforcement. "999,999 law enforcement officers on our streets in this country do their job the way they're supposed to," said Drake, "Oddie Tribble, we believe snapped, ok? He's not an ogre. It happened. He's going to pay for it, and I think that's the lesson in this case."

It's a price that could cost Tribble up to 10 years in federal prison and fines up to $250,000. The judge will sentence Tribble in May.

Tribble was fired in August after video surfaced of him beating a handcuffed man dozens of times with a metal baton, breaking his leg.

Tribble testified inmate Charles Shelley was drunk and belligerent and was making threats against Tribble's family. Prosecutors said Tribble was angry and used unjustified force against the man.

One person missing from the courtroom Thursday was the victim, Charles Shelley. WIS News 10 tried to contact Shelley, but he didn't return the call to his cell phone Thursday afternoon.

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Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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