News release from TBI
COOKEVILLE – In two separate cases, Special Agents from the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation have obtained indictments for a total of five individuals in connection to allegations of the mistreatment of inmates in the Morgan County Jail.
In the first case, which began November 24, 2015 at the request of 9th District Attorney General Russell Johnson, TBI Agents investigated an allegation of Official Misconduct by correction officers in the Morgan County Jail. The allegation, brought by an inmate’s family, accused officers of encouraging the assault of an inmate on November 21, 2015 in the presence of correction officers, who were also accused of not intervening in the incident.
On Monday, the Morgan County Grand Jury returned indictments, charging Correction Officer Denny Hughett, 31, of Wartburg, with two counts of Official Misconduct and one count of Coercion of a Witness. The Grand Jury also returned an indictment for an inmate, charging Samuel Jennings, 39, with one count of Aggravated Assault.
On Tuesday, Hughett was booked into the Roane County Jail on $3,000 bond after turning himself into TBI Agents. Authorities notified Jennings of his charge today at the Sequatchie County Jail, where he is currently being held on unrelated charges.
In the second case, requested by 9th District Attorney General Russell Johnson on December 15, 2015, TBI Agents investigated allegations of Assault on an Inmate, stemming from an incident alleged to have occurred on December 12th. During the course of the investigation, TBI Agents developed information that three correction officers assaulted an inmate while improperly attempting to restrain him inside the jail.
On Monday, the Morgan County Grand Jury returned indictments in connection to the case, charging Correction Officer Joe D. Shoffner, Jr., 43, of Wartburg, with one count of Official Misconduct and one count of Assault. The Grand Jury also returned indictments for Officers Garren Austin Luke Cooper, 20, of Wartburg, and Michael Alan Lloyd, 22, of Wartburg, charging each man with one count of Assault. Authorities booked all three men into the Roane County Jail.