Beating Investigation Now In Hands Of Prosecuting Attorney

April 21, 2004 -- Posted at 5:42 p.m. CDT

JONESBORO -- The criminal investigation into the beating of Terry O'Neil is officially over.... three weeks to the day after the incident occurred. You first learned on K-8 News that O'Neil had allegedly been beaten while in custody at the Craighead County Detention Center on March 31st.

After an internal investigation, four jailers were fired and a criminal investigation has been ongoing at the local, state, and federal levels. Wednesday, the Arkansas State Police released their findings.

The investigation into the beating of Terry O'Neil is almost over.

"We have completed our investigation, probably 99%," said Phil Carter of the Arkansas State Police.

The Arkansas State Police have now turned over the case to the prosecuting attorney, who says he'll take all the time he needs to review it.

Prosecuting Attorney Brent Davis, "It's impossible to try to estimate at this point in time how long it would take to review it, what additional information would need to be obtained, and how lengthy the decision making process will be."

But state police investigators aren't done yet, depending on what Davis decides, they may still be hard at work.

"He might or might not request that we do further investigation on this case. If he does, it will take a few more days to complete it. If he doesn't, then when he gets done with his review, the decision will be his as to what's done with this case," said Carter.

"I think there are probably a few additional items that have yet to be included in the file and we will review and any additional information that we think might be available we'll request," said Davis.

The prosecuting attorney's office will also take into consideration any information provided by a federal investigation by the FBI. An initial report was submitted to FBI headquarters in Washington today.

"Whenever we have an opportunity to review all that, we'll try to make a determination as to what is the appropriate action to take from there," said Davis.

And from that action, justice should be served. Three of the four jailers that were fired, as a result of the beating, have asked for grievance hearings, which have been postponed until now. Craighead County Judge Dale Haas says with the findings of the Arkansas State Police and the FBI's investigation, the hearings will be scheduled soon.