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DANVILLE, Ky. (AP) - Family members of inmates in a central Kentucky prison where a fiery riot last year caused extensive damage protested Wednesday outside a courthouse while a grand jury decided if some prisoners would be criminally charged.
Family members sat outside the Boyle County Courthouse, many holding signs, surrounded by 126 black balloons representing all the men they feel have been wrongly disciplined, the Advocate-Messenger of Danville reported.
A statement prepared by the group said innocent inmates at the nearby Northpoint Training Center in Burgin had been charged based on implausible statements from corrections officers, many based on
personal feelings about inmates rather than actual involvement in the riot.
The August 21 riot destroyed six buildings and injured eight guards and eight inmates. Damage to the prison was so severe that about 700 inmates had to be transferred.
Suzette Raybeck, whose son Jeremy Duree was accused of inciting the riot and destroying a shed on prison grounds, said Duree was disciplined administratively despite following orders to stay in his dorm until being led outside by corrections officers.
Raybeck said she was skeptical of the testimony used against Duree and others.
"One officer is supposed to have positively identified 126 people," Raybeck said. "I think that is impossible when you are in the middle of this riot with smoke and tear gas."
Commonwealths Attorney Richie Bottoms said Monday that five or six cases of inciting a riot would go before the grand jury, while more than 100 will face charges.
In March, Mackenzie Curry, Aaron Fisk, Bobby Hoskins Jr. and Newell Stacy were indicted for first degree rioting, first degree arson and being persistent felony offenders. Kurt Robert Smith was charged with rioting and assault for allegedly hitting a corrections officer with a rock.
Information from: The Advocate-Messenger, http://www.amnews.com
(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)